Rinse the cherries, and spread them on a dishtowel or layers of paper towel. Pat dry and cover the cherries with another towel and refrigerate. Cherries must be cold and completely dry before dipping. If necessary, cradle each cherry in a paper towel before you dip it; wet cherries will make the chocolate thick and dull.
Line a tray with parchment or wax paper.
Put the chocolate in a small, dry, stainless steel bowl. Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a wide skillet. If using dark chocolate, set the bowl directly in the skillet and keep the water at or below a simmer. If using milk or white chocolate, turn the heat under the skillet off for 60 seconds before setting the bowl in the water. Stir dark chocolate occasionally, milk and white chocolate constantly. Remove the bowl from the skillet when the chocolate in almost entirely melted. Wipe the underside of the bowl dry and stir to finish melting the chocolate. Chocolate should be warm (not hot) to the touch.
Pick up a cherry by the stem and dip it as far into the chocolate as you like. Lift the cherry above the chocolate and shake it gently, letting excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Set the cherry on the lined tray and repeat with the remaining cherries. Refrigerate the cherries as soon as the tray is filled. Serve any time after the chocolate is hardened enough so that you can peel the cherry cleanly from the parchment. Keep chilled until serving.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).