Does anyone else love Cherry Ripes chocolate bars? I have to say that chocolate bars in general do not really interest me...I can't remember the last time I ate one. I am a dark chocolate girl all the way so will always choose some fruit and nut dark chocolate, some homemade creation or 80% cacao bar instead of the sweeter commerical chocolate bar. However, Cherry Ripes with their dark chocolate coating a possibly an exception...and I do believe this is genetic as I'm pretty sure they are a favourite of my mums.
That said, again I can't actually remember the last time I ate a Cherry Ripe bar. So I decided that I would create my own version and take them down to Melbourne with me to give to my mum for Christmas. I tried a bite of these the other day and I have to say that I am quite pleased with the flavour and texture and overall 'Cherry Ripeness' of them! The only difference is the lesser amount of dark chocolate; I chose not to coat the bars entirely as I have to take these on the plane and thought the more chocolate the higher chance of ending up with a melty mess. Even for a dark chocolate nut like me though, it is rich enough and the addition of brandy essence brings that sophisticated touch to them...perhaps leave this out if you are serving to the kiddies though. It took me ages to find a recipe as a starting point, apparently no one else wants to make their own Cherry Ripes...go figure! But I found a cherry coconut bon bon recipe on My Food Obsession which I halved and changed a few things. I almost didn't use glace cherries because I hate these but once they are chopped up finally it was ok. Luckily!
Cherry Coconut & Dark Chocolate Slice adpated from My Food Obsession printable recipe
170ml sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp brandy flavoured essence
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
pinch sea salt
70g icing sugar
170g dessicated coconut
200g red glace cherries, finely chopped
260g dark chocolate, melted (or more if you wish to entirely coat individual bars)
Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking paper.
In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, brandy essence, vanilla bean paste and salt. Sift the icing sugar and stir until smooth. Next, stir in the coconut and finely chopped glace cherries. Spoon the mixture into the tray and press down until smooth. Allow to set in the fridge until firm, and then remove from pan and use a sharp knife to cut into bars or squares. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate and allow to set in the fridge before serving.
You can also all the mixture to firm up a bit in the fridge and then roll into balls and dip in melted chocolate if you prefer to make truffles. Or cut into bars and coat entirely in chocolate if you like the more classic Cherry Ripe.