Make Ahead

Chocolate and Cherry Sauce

June 21, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups
Author Notes

We like this on sundaes and puddings, and as a topping for my mother's sour cream cake (posted here as "Bette's Best"), angel food cake and pound cake. It's also been spotted on occasion spread on buttered whole grain toast, for a mid-morning snack . . . . and on rice cakes spread with a bit of almond butter. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 1 pint cherries in syrup (or if using fresh, I pound of Bing, Rainier or Brooks cherries) (See note below.)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • Sugar to taste (optional)
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
  1. If using canned cherries, drain them, reserving 3 tablespoons of syrup. If using fresh cherries, stem but don't pit the cherries.
  2. PRE-COOK THE CHERRIES (or see the note below about cooking pitted and chopped cherries directly with the chocolates). In a heavy, lidded pot with a wide bottom -- a deep skillet with a good tight lid will do -- put the cherries and enough water just to cover the bottom layer of cherries. Heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for two minutes. Turn off the heat, without removing the cover, and let sit for another 2 minutes. Then remove the cherries with a slotted spoon to a bowl or measuring cup and set aside. (You should have about 2 cups of cherries.)
  3. While the cherries are cooling, reduce the liquid in the pan by cooking over a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, or until only 2 to 3 tablespoons remain.
  4. MELT THE CHOCOLATE TO START THE SAUCE: In a heavy saucepan, combine the chocolate chips with the reserved syrup. Gradually add the cocoa powder to the pan, along with the star grains of paradise, stirring all the while to combine.
  5. IF USING FRESH CHERRIES: When the cherries are cool enough to handle, break them in two with your fingers -- it should be very easy -- and remove the pits, then drop the cherry halves into the pan with the chocolate sauce. You can also tear the pieces in two while removing the pits, and then chop the halves into smaller bits, if you like. IF USING PITTED CANNED CHERRIES: Coarsely chop the cherries and add to the pan with the chocolate sauce.
  6. COOK THE SAUCE: Turn on the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring all the while. (If using fresh cherries, pour into the saucepan, right after you've turned on the heat, the juice that collected in the bowl in which the cherries cooled.) Add the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Turn off the heat, and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. TASTE TEST FOR SWEETNESS AND SPICE: Test for sugar and add some, if you like. (I have found that about a tablespoon of turbinado sugar is plenty, but it depends on how sweet the cherries are.) If you’ve added more sugar , heat the sauce again until it just barely starts to simmer, stirring all the while. Let cool, taste and adjust, if necessary.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store covered in the fridge, or freeze.
  9. Enjoy!! ;o)
  10. TO MAKE THIS BY PITTING AND CHOPPING THE CHERRIES WHEN RAW: You can also make this sauce without pre-cooking the cherries by pitting them and then chopping them, or not, as you wish. Melt the chocolate chips, add the cherries and juice, heat until the cherries release a bit more juice, then add the cocoa and the star anise. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the while. Let sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then proceed with Step 7, above. ;o)
  11. REMOVING PITS FROM COOKED CHERRIES: I'm right handed and find that it works well to pick up four or five cherries in my left hand, holding one between my left thumb and index finger at a time, using my right hand to pull out the pit.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cheryl Pereira
    Cheryl Pereira
  • Slurrpalicious
  • AntoniaJames
  • SallyCan
  • Michelle McKenzie
    Michelle McKenzie

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

See problem, solve problem. Ask questions; question answers. Disrupt, with kindness, courtesy and respect. ;o)

17 Reviews

Cheryl P. August 13, 2020
Oh my heavens! I made this tonight.. ahead of my daughter's birthday dinner I'm in charge of on Friday night. I'm making a Death by Chocolate cake as dessert and thought this would be the perfect finishing touch on each slice since I had lots of fresh cherries I needed to use up. It's so smooth and delicious that I just want to pour it over some ice cream tonight! I pitted and halved the cherries before cooking, and omitted the brandy (although I was tempted to add rum!). Came out perfect & should really "wow" the family Friday night! 💜 Love this recipe!
AntoniaJames August 13, 2020
Thank you, Cheryl! So glad it was a success for you. ;o) P.S. On Death by Chocolate Cake? That sounds amazing.
Cheryl P. August 15, 2020
YES! And it was divine over the scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it! We all went into sugar comas but it was truly divine and everyone just loved it! 😁
Slurrpalicious July 21, 2010
Just by looking at it i can say it is nothing less than delicious!!!!!!!!!! :)
That is some dessert!!
AntoniaJames June 25, 2010
Hey, just want to let you all know that I tried making this a new way . . just to see how it worked. Instead of pitting and chopping the cherries when they're raw, I cook them briefly -- just enough to soften them and produce some juice -- then I pull them gently apart and remove the pits with my fingers. I'm not sure if it takes less time, but all the juice goes directly into the pot. I liked the way it turned out. I also reduced the amount of cocoa powder a bit, and added some notes within the instructions. ;o)
SallyCan June 24, 2010
This looks fabulous! I'll be making it soon (with all of the options). Have you ever tried warming the cherries and adding the brandy to them between steps 3 & 4, and then igniting it? Do you think that would alter the flavor of the cherries too much? I, too, dream of that sour cream cake, with that marvelous crust...
AntoniaJames June 25, 2010
I haven't tried using the brandy that way, but would love to hear how it works! I'm looking forward to making a sour cream cake for our Independence Day block party . . . I know it's over-the-top corny, but I serve it with both blueberries and strawberries, which have been separately macerated . . . the strawberries in the liquid they produce from a good sprinkling of vanilla sugar, and the blueberries in a bit of sugar and lemon juice . . . . served in separate bowls. ;o)
SallyCan June 25, 2010
Great idea, to macerate the berries separately, and with different treatment for each, keeping the flavors distinct, and the colors true...
Michelle M. June 24, 2010
I love that sour cream cake. Too much really. I've actually dreamed about it.
Waverly June 23, 2010
Chocolate and cherries? yes! With star anise? Wow. I am definitely going to have to try it.
AntoniaJames June 23, 2010
I hope you do try it! I used to have a mild aversion to star anise, finding it somewhat overpowering of other flavors with which it typically is used. But chocolate and cherries seem able to hold their own with it. Make sure you use semi-sweet, and not a darker chocolate, as neither the star anise nor the cherries can be "heard" well enough when dark chocolate is in the mix. ;o)
Heena June 23, 2010
Buttered toast with chocolate and cherries? You might give Nutella a run for its money : )
AntoniaJames June 23, 2010
Thanks! I'm going to edit the title of this, by the way, to "Not Just" Dessert Sauce. ;o)
Heena June 24, 2010
Question: What is the purpose of the 'ground' chocolate?
AntoniaJames June 24, 2010
Yikes. Good catch, there. I meant to refer to the cocoa powder in that step, and probably should clarify what the ingredient is in the list, as well. I loaded this one quickly . . . . too quickly, it seems . . . . with the intention of reading it through in hard copy and editing before the deadline. I will edit it now, though, to correct that (but may tweak it again tomorrow evening, after proofing in hard copy, once I've taken care of all client matters that need my attention this week). Thank you!! ;o)
thirschfeld June 22, 2010
This just looks so good!!!!
AntoniaJames June 23, 2010
Thank you! I'm so glad you think so. Gotta take and post a photo . . . still have some in the fridge, but it's disappearing day by day. ;o)