How to make Cherry Cordials

You can make classic Cherry Cordials at home. Cherries, Kirschwasser, and dark chocolate come together for the ultimate candy treat. Learn how to make the real cordial-syrup filling.

learn how to make cherry cordials

When you bite into a true Cherry Cordial candy you get the snap of real chocolate and a burst of sweet and slightly boozy syrup.

Admittedly, this is a bit of a fussy recipe. Homemade candy will take a little time and attention to get it just right. But, if you’re going to put the time in to make these gems from scratch, you might as well use real chocolate and create the oozy syrupy center that sets this candy apart.

But, if you really want to take a little bit of a shortcut, you can skip the chocolate tempering process by using “candy melts” or “coating chocolate”. I think real chocolate is worth the extra work, but I’m not the recipe police, so take the shortcut if you are so inclined!

Tips for making real Cherry Cordials at home:

  • Soak the cherries in liquor and make the fondant the day before making the candies.
  • The alcohol in the Kirschwasser is what turns the fondant into a syrup. If you don’t want to use alcohol, add 1/4 teaspoon Invertase to the fondant. The invertase will break down the crystals in the fondant, turning it into a syrup just like the alcohol does.
  • Try to wait 2-3 days before serving the Cherry Cordials. This time is needed for the fondant to become a syrup.
  • I truly believe the candies taste best made with real chocolate. But the chocolate must be “tempered” for the best texture. If you want a shortcut, you can use “candy coating” or “coating chocolate” which does not need to be tempered.

Watch the recipe video to see how to make Cherry Cordials:

cherry cordials
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4.84 from 156 reviews

Cherry Cordials Recipe

You can make classic Cherry Cordials at home. Cherries, Kirschwasser, and dark chocolate come together for the ultimate candy treat.
Prep Time2 hours
Bake Time10 minutes
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
36 candies
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Ingredients

  • 16 oz maraschino cherries (with stems)
  • 4 oz Kirschwasser (½ cup)
  • 16 oz granulated sugar (2 cups)
  • 4 oz water (½ cup)
  • 2 ¾ oz light corn syrup (¼ cup)
  • 16 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions

  • Drain 16 oz maraschino cherries, reserving the liquid. Place the cherries back in the jar and pour 4 oz Kirschwasser over the cherries. Add as much of the reserved syrup as needed to completely cover the cherries. Close the jar and set it aside for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
  • Have a food processor set up near the stove. Combine 16 oz granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons of the reserved maraschino cherry liquid, 4 oz water and 2 ¾ oz light corn syrup in a saucepan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Do not stir the syrup once it begins to boil. Reduce the heat to medium high. Dip a pastry brush in water to clean any splatters from the sides of the pan. Place a thermometer into the syrup and boil until the temperature reaches 240 °F.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the syrup into the food processor. Rinse the thermometer to remove any sugar crystals and set the thermometer into the syrup. Do not disturb the syrup as it cools.
  • Allow the syrup to cool to 140 °F. Remove the thermometer. Process the syrup for 3-4 minutes until it thickens and becomes opaque.
  • Pour the fondant into a microwave safe container. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of water over the fondant to cover the surface. This will prevent it from forming a crust. Cover the container and set aside for several hours or overnight.
  • Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Drain the cherries and thoroughly blot them dry with paper towels. The drier the cherries, the better the fondant will adhere.
  • Warm the fondant in the microwave in 10 second increments until it is a little warmer than body temperature and loosens up enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon. Don't let the fondant get warmer than 160 °F or you'll loose the crystals.
  • Use the stem to lift a cherry and dip it into the fondant, covering the cherry up to the stem. Hold the cherry over the bowl to allow the excess fondant to drip back into the bowl. Set the cherry onto one of the lined sheet pans. Continue dipping all the cherries. You may need to rewarm the fondant if it becomes too thick to dip. You can sprinkle a few drops of water to loosen up the fondant if needed. Don't add too much water or the fondant won't stick to the cherries. Set the cherries aside to dry while you temper the chocolate. Visit this post to see how to temper chocolate.
  • Lift a cherry by the stem and dip it into the tempered chocolate, covering all the fondant and going a little up the base of the stem. Hold the cherry over the bowl to allow the excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.
  • Set the cherry onto the other lined sheet pan. Continue dipping all the cherries. Allow the chocolate set completely before packing the cherries into a covered container. Store at room temperature. The fondant layer needs a couple of days to melt and become the cordial syrup. Wait at least 2 days before serving

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Video

Notes

The Kirschwasser not only adds the “cordial” to the candy, but it also turns the fondant into a syrup. If you don’t want to use alcohol, add 1/4 teaspoon Invertase to the fondant. The invertase will break down the crystals in the fondant, turning it into a syrup just like the alcohol does.

Nutrition

Serving: 1each | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Make Cherry Cordials at home for a special treat. Real dark chocolate, Kirschwasser and cherries make a perfect Cherry Cordial with a syrupy center.  #candy #how to #video #homemade #liquor #boozy #maraschino #real #classic

53 Comments

  1. Is there a way to make the fondant without a blender? I’ve made these the first time very successfully with a blender/processor. But I recently had my blender die and I still wanted to make these. They’re such a hit and my go to recipe!

    1. Well, the original way to make fondant was to pour the syrup out onto a marble surface. Wait for it to cool to 120F. Then use a bench scraper or metal spatula to swirl and stir the syrup back and forth across the marble. This manipulation will cool the syrup and create the crystals that make the fondant opaque and thick. Personally? I’d try to borrow a blender or food processor if you can. Doing it by hand is possible but very hard work.

    2. @Eileen Gray, thank you! I’m going to figure it with a food processor again. Got another! These cherries are so worth it, my whole family waits each year for them. I really should make them more often. They are pretty easy!

      I appreciate your help with this!
      Megan

    3. @eileen grey, one last question, what brand is your long wired thermometer? I’m looking into one and I love how easy yours is on the video!

  2. Note quite sure what I’m doing wrong compared to others, but my fondant mixture is a sticky pink mess, close to a consistency you would get before making a hard candy. It won’t work in the food processor, I’ve nearly burned the engine out on it, so I can’t get it opaque. Did too much water cook off it as it got to 240? Something else?  

    1. If it’s hardening up too much the temp may have gone over the soft ball stage. Once the syrup is at temp it needs to come off the heat immediately. Did you watch the video to see how the syrup looks when it comes off the stove and runs in the processor?

  3. FONDONT: I follow the instructions to the boiling to the cooling to the food processor to putting the 2 tablespoons of water. Everything seem like it was going great then when I heated the fondant up for 20 seconds, and I dip the cherries perfect but then the fondant stayed on the cherries, and I let them dry. Unfortunately, when I picked the cherry up, all of the fondant came off. What did I do wrong that would cause that I normally do the fondant with corn syrup, powdered sugar, condensed sweetened milk, and then I wrap them so I saved myself by doing that, but I really would like to try it your way.

  4. I made my fondant this evening’s I brought the temperature up to 240. I did not stir it once it started boiling and immediately put it into the food processor and cleaned my thermometer off before putting it in the food processor and allowed it to cool to 120. I started the food processor for initially four minutes and did not feel that it was opaque so I ran it for several minutes more. I finally got to wear, appeared to look like an opaque but it wasn’t near as white as yours, I went ahead and put it in a bowl and sprinkle the 2 teaspoons water on it and it’s in the fridge now I don’t think it’s as thick as it’s supposed to be. Any suggestions? I had red one lady said hurts, got too thick well mine was like cherry Jell-O when it was first started very cherry colored and very transparent. I now have kind of a pink what looks to be like a thicker set Jell-O, but definitely not like yours where it looks more like the consistency of pudding. If it’s not set up by tomorrow, I’m gonna go buy another jar of cordials so I can get the juice and wanted to know if anyone has any suggestions trying to get these done and let the alcohol do it’s thing so I can have them for Christmas

  5. I read your other responses but still have questions, I am ordering the invertase tonight from Amazon from the link on your site, is that added into the fondant after it has cooled , do I stir it in just after pouring into microwave safe container. Also once the cherries have had the liquid removed and put back into the jar if I am understanding there will be nothing added, so I am assuming that eliminates the 12 hour wait time since I am not using alcohol

    1. I would add the invertase when you reheat the fondant for dipping the cherries (step 7). Yes, if you are not using the alcohol you can skip the 12 hour wait. But you do need to give the fondant an overnight rest to get it to set properly.

  6. Here is my thought/question… I want to put these into the center of a chocolate cupcake. So I am thinking I could wrap these cordials in a chocolate truffle (before it’s completely set) rather than dipping them in the tempered chocolate. Then cool/set them, and then bake them in the center of a chocolate cupcake. Do you think it would result in a gooey, chocolate and cordial center?
    I found a recipe that bakes a truffle in the center of a chocolate muffin, for that gooey, melty center. So essentially I would just be adding a cordial to the middle of the truffle… Or do you know if baking that fondant will ruin the end result/melty effect?

  7. I do not own a food processor. Would I be able to do this using a blender or hand mixer? I have a ninja nutriblender and a hand mixer. Would I just use a normal blend setting if I used the blender? Thank you!

    1. What the food processor does is pulverize the sugar crystals as they are forming. This is why fondant has a creamy texture rather than a coarse texture. A mixer wouldn’t make the crystals small enough and I think as the sugar crystalizes you might burn out the motor of the mixer. It’s gets quite thick very fast. I haven’t used a ninja blender but I believe they are quite powerful, right? The ninja might be worth trying. Let us know if it works out.

  8. This is going to be my 3rd time making these and I was wondering if I can dip after the processing part?

    1. Do you mean dip the cherries as soon as you finish processing the fondant? If so, yes. If you find it’s too thick you can warm if briefly in the microwave to loosen it up.

  9. Hi! In the prep time listed it says 2 hours, but the recipe asks to soak the cherries for at least 12. Does the time soaking make a huge difference, or can I just do 2 hours? Thanks!

    1. By “prep time” I mean the active time making the candies. The soaking time is passive so I don’t list it in the prep time. The soaking does make a different for the flavor of the cherries.

  10. Hi Eileen! I’m actually doing a Chemistry project for school on Cherry Cordials and I was wondering if you have to do number 7? In other words, could I wrap the cherries in the fondant right after I’ve made it?

    Thank you!
    Morgan

    1. Sorry for the delayed response, somehow your comment ended up in the spam folder. You could try to use it right away, but it does firm up pretty quickly since it cools quite a bit as your process the syrup. If the fondant is too thick to dip the cherries you will need to reheat it briefly to get it thin enough to dip the cherries.

  11. Hello, TY 4 this delish recipe. Two attempts down and still not correct–that’s my problem, what does correct look like when you haven’t made it before.? Of course, my using different brand and size of maraschino cherries is complicating the process. I’m using a 13.5 oz jar of Bada Bing Cherries. So immediately I’ve got a problem-how much more liquid would I need to meet recipe requirements? (I didn’t add any additional liquid.)
    I’m interested in making these as gifts, not knowing my full audience, I’ve decided to go non-alcoholic.
    When do you add the invertase? (Be careful folks, invertase is 1/4 tsp not 4 oz if using liquor). Most recipes say to add after the cooking step.
    What do you cover the cherries with if not using liquor/Kirschwasser?

    For the cooling before processing step. I cooled the recipe to 120 using Polder instant read thermometer. Soon as it started processing, I could see the mixture was still quite hot, I stopped processing and waited for it to cool back down to 120. Was this OK? It never turned opaque.

    Is it the processing step that creates the crystals? Is turning opaque the signal its processed enough? This might help figure out how long to process or whether or not the batch is a fail.

    My second batch was much closer but was never going to work since I overcooked it but it turned nice opaque color but got way too stiff to work with. Very fun stuff, it was like taffy and such a beautiful color.

    What is the reserved 2 T of cherry juice used for?

    I’ve googled around and can’t find answers sooo please help I really want to make these! TY! jean

    1. I’ll try to address as many of your issues as I can. Do you think you need more liquid because the cherries are bigger? That shouldn’t matter and adding more liquid won’t change the final fondant. Fondant is a candy. Candy is made when crystallized sugar is boiled to a certain temp. The higher the temp, the less water in the mix and the harder the candy. For fondant, the syrup is boiled to “soft ball” stage. That is, when the candy crystallizes it will still be pliable. Yes, invertase after cooking. If you’re not using the liquor, the cherries aren’t soaked in anything other than the syrup they came in. That soaking step is to infuse the cherries with Kirschwasser. When you process the fondant, it turns opaque because the sugar is crystallizing into teeny tiny crystals. It may not have crystallized properly if you added something other than what is in the recipe. If the fondant becomes too stiff after processing, that’s ok. Fondant will stiffen up as it cools and if you processed it until it cooled down quite a bit, that can happen. You can gently warm it (don’t let it become completely melted) until it’s pourable. That’s why the recipe instructs you to warm the fondant in 20 second increments in the microwave. You can even thin it down with a little corn syrup or water if it’s too thick to work with. But, less is more when thinning. Add just a few DROPS at a time. The reserved 2T cherry juice is used to flavor and color the fondant. Candy making is a bit finicky and can take some practice. Good luck.

      1. Awesome Sauce, thank you for replying so quickly! I just found more cherries, 50% off, yay! Will apply these tips and let you know how it goes. Thank You!

  12. Hello there! I just finished making the candy fondant portion so this question is more for next time (and other inexperienced fondant peoples 🙂 . After about 3 minutes it was definitely opaque and somewhat thickened but still straight up pourable. I set the food processor for about another minute and it was thickened to the point of needing to be shoved out with a spoon. Was this the correct consistency to aim for?

    1. No, once it’s opaque but still pourable is when you want to stop. It will thicken as it cools. If you watch the video you can see when I stop the processor the fondant is a viscous liquid consistency.

  13. My dad loves cherry cordials from the store and I’m so excited to make these for him! He’s a big brandy fan…would it be ok to sub a good brandy as the liquor? Normally I’d just experiment on my own, but it sounds like the fondant is a little tricky and if you have any advice, I’d appreciate it! Thank you for the recipe

  14. So I tried to make this, I doubled the batch of fondant and when I was processing it it never turned as opaque as yours. So I let it sit over night and it never really hardened I dipped the cherries after draining and the fondant slid down to the bottom and wasn’t very hard. I waited just to see if it would get harder but it didn’t. I am thinking doubling the batch wasn’t a good idea and if I need two batches I should make two.

    1. Well, fondant is fussy. If it never set I would guess that the sugar syrup wasn’t boiled to the full temp. What type of thermometer did you use? Are you use it’s accurate?

  15. The first time I tried, I had the same experience as Larissa above. The second time, it never became opaque. And it has dried very hard. Still waiting a few hours to see if that is how it supposed to be. Am I doing it right? If not, any suggestions? Trying to surprise my husband.

    1. Hi Carol, Did you try to begin processing the syrup a little warmer than 120F? As I said to Larissa, when the syrup is warmer it will take longer to crystalize and it doesn’t get thick so fast. The second time when it didn’t become opaque did it stay completely clear and then set completely hard? Did you get any crystallization?

    1. Cake fondant (rolled fondant) is a completely different product than real fondant. Fondant is a candy, i.e., crystalized sugar. Rolled fondant is just a sugar dough. So, no, the two are not interchangeable.

  16. My boyfriend loves cherry cordials and I want to make these. Would I be able to freeze the leftovers for a later day when he has the craving?
    Thanks

  17. Hi
    This is my first time attempting these with alcohol, is the alcohol infused enough Or stays intact enough to where these should not be given to kids I’m assuming? I know some times goodies made with alcohol are ok bc it evaporates out or cooks off

    1. The alcohol will be intact in these candies. They’re probably not for young children. That being said, no one is going to get drunk eating 1 or 2 candies, so for older kids use your judgement.

  18. Can anyone help with some advice on the fondant? I’m following the measurements exactly – stir it until it’s near boiling, then boil untouched to 240, straight to food processor, cool untouched to 120… but when I turn the food processor on the syrup is so thick the blades can hardly move and the motor gives up after a few seconds. It’s not a cheap food processor – the 14 cup cuisinart one recommended by America’s Test Kitchen and by all accounts a total work horse. I’ve tried twice with the same result. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Larissa. You can try processing the fondant a little before 120F. I like to get it a little cooler because I find it crystallizes faster. But you can start processing at 130F or even 140F if you find it’s setting up too fast. Let me know if that helps. If so, I’ll add a note to the recipe.

  19. Hi! I’m really looking forward to making these this season! This is my first time seeing a recipe with an alcohol substitute which is exciting because that runny fondant is just the absolute best! That being said, would you recommend still soaking the cherries in something overnight to help enhance the flavor? Like a watered down emulsion? Or extract? Or something? Thanks so much for sharing!!

    1. Hi Stacey, I guess you could soak the cherries in extract. Maybe a little almond extract. Almonds and cherries are natural flavor partners. You can make a sugar syrup or keep the syrup from the cherries. Start with just a 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract because it can be quite strong.

  20. Hi, I’m so glad I found someone who will make cherry cordials the old fashioned way. I made it every Christmas for family and friends. Even I have been making it for few years in a row, I hate making fondant. It is so hard to get it right, I tried kneading my hand, or throw it in to kitchen aid to knead. The most common way I found online is food processor, but I don’t have one. I do own a blendtec, but the fondant seems to get harden pretty fast. Just wondering if you have any good tip about the fondant making?

    1. Hi Ivy, I agree that fondant making is a pain! A food processor is definitely the best way to create the “crystals” in the fondant. I wish I had another idea for you, but I would say a strong blender is as close as you can get. But a blender has a much smaller blade that a food processor. The only other possibility would be to by dry fondant mix.

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