Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and one thing that goes well with romantic holidays is chocolate and alcohol. These take a day or two to prep for, so if you want to make them for Valentine’s Day this year, better get to it (okay, okay, it’s my fault I didn’t get these posted sooner)! You can make them for any time of the year though so don’t fret if you don’t have time to do them this week.
There are a few things you’ll need to make these. You’ll need a silicone mold of some kind that has slightly deep wells (I used a heart treat mold), some melting chocolates in your favorite colors or flavors, chocolate cake mix, canned frosting, maraschino cherries, cherry topping, pie filling or cherry jelly, and some amaretto.
The amaretto doesn’t have to be the expensive kind. I got the cheaper stuff and it worked well for this recipe. For the cherries I chose maraschino cherries because they are bright and sweet. Fresh cherries could work too, but would change the flavor a bit. The cherry topping I found actually tasted more like fresh cherries and was dark in color but it went great with all of the other ingredients.
The first thing you want to do, is pull the maraschino cherries out of their syrup, drain, and dry them a bit. I just rolled them around in a couple paper towels. Pop them into an empty jar and pour the amaretto over them. Let them soak for 24-48 hours.
On the day you make the treats, bake the chocolate cake first and let it cool. While it cools, make your cherry sauce by adding 1/4 cup of cherry topping (strained of fruit pieces) with 1/4 cup of amaretto, set aside. If you’d like to omit the alcohol, don’t soak the cherries in it and only use the cherry topping for the sauce. If you’re using cherry jelly and need to thin it a bit, mix a little cherry syrup into it instead of amaretto.
Prepare your silicone mold by melting the chocolate/candy melts and coating just the bottom and sides of each heart well. The back of a spoon and a pastry brush helped me get it covered. Make sure there are no holes! Freeze the mold for 5 minutes. I suggest placing the mold on a baking sheet to keep it from bending.
Once the cake is cool, crumble it up in a bowl and mix in 1/2 cup of frosting until it is completely combined. It should have a consistency of clay. It’s a messy job, but I like to mix it with my hands, I find it easier to combine this way.
Next take the mold out of the freezer and spoon 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the cherry amaretto sauce and one cherry into each heart well. Close up each treat with a small piece of cake clay so that the sauce does not spill out. It can be tricky to get the cake in there without squishing the sauce out too. Just work with it until it’s all covered and no sauce leaks out. Leave a small space on top.
In the small top space spread more melted chocolate to seal the sauce and cake inside. Make sure to cover it well or sauce could drip out once it’s set. Chill the mold in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes so the chocolate sets.
Pop the chilled treats out of the mold and you’re done! If you want to decorate the tops of the hearts, spread a little melted chocolate on and then sprinkle with decor. I tried adding the sprinkles in the bottom of the wells before I filled them with chocolate but it didn’t work out. The chocolate oozed around all the sprinkles and made a messy looking treat.
These are a bit messy to eat so make sure to have a napkin when you bit into them!
The cherry amaretto sauce soaks into the cake and makes everything taste awesome together. They also remind me of those liqueur chocolates or cherry cordial candy.
- Amaretto (I used about a 1/3 of a 750 mL bottle for the whole recipe)
- Jar of Maraschino cherries
- 1/4 cup cherry topping, pie filling, or jelly
- 2-3 bags of candy melts in any colors or flavors
- 1 box of chocolate cake mix (and any ingredients it calls for)
- 1 can of frosting (white or chocolate works)
- Silicone heart mold
- Candy sprinkles/other decorations
- One to two days before you plan to make the treats, drain and dry the maraschino cherries and put them back into the jar. If you want to save the cherry syrup, put the cherries in a small/medium mason jar instead. Pour the amaretto over the cherries until the jar is full and let them soak 24-48 hours.
- Bake the chocolate cake according to the box directions. Let it cool
- While the cake is baking, prepare the cherry sauce. Mix 1/4 cup cherry topping with 1/4 cup amaretto. If the topping has pieces of fruit, strain the sauce out and use 1/4 cup of the sauce without the fruit bits.
- Melt the chocolate/candy melts according to package directions and spoon into heart mold. Use a pastry brush and spoon to cover the bottom and sides of the mold well. Make sure there are not holes or open spots.
- Once the wells are covered in chocolate, freeze it for about 5 minutes for it to set up. I suggest placing the mold on a baking sheet to keep it from bending.
- When the cake is cool, crumble it up and mix 1/2 cup of frosting into it. It should have a moist clay-like consistency. Chill briefly in the fridge while you prepare the heart wells.
- Take the mold out of the freezer and spoon 1/2-1 teaspoon of cherry amaretto sauce and one cherry into each heart well.
- Remove the cake clay from the fridge and place a small piece of cake on top of each heart well, making sure not to push the sauce out of the top. Experiment with how much cake you need in each well so that the sauce is trapped inside and there is a small amount of room left on the top.
- To close up each treat, remelt some of your left over chocolate and cover the cake, making sure to seal up all of the edges.
- One more time, chill the cakes in the fridge for a few minutes until the chocolate sets.
- Pop out each treat. If you want to decorate the tops, spread a little melted candy on top and add sprinkles*.
*I do not recommend putting decor sprinkles into the treat molds before adding the melted chocolate. The chocolate ends up covering up the sprinkles and looks messy when they are popped out of the wells.
Total time includes the 24-48 hours for soaking amaretto cherries. Day-of total time is about 3-4 hours.
Have a great Valentine’s Day! Let me know if you tried these treats and if they were a hit.