Monday 5 September 2011

Cherry Ripes for We Should Cocoa

Fathers Day weekend was a big one for the family.  On Saturday we had Fran and John's wedding party and on Sunday we had a big family lunch to celebrate birthdays and my mum heading overseas, as well as Fran and John being in town.  I had planned to make Dan Lepard's Cherry Ripe Slice for ages.  When it came to making it, I wanted a gluten free option.  I decided on a Cherry Ripe version of cake pops.  They went down a treat! 

Firstly let me mention the cafe the Fran and John chose for their party.  The Famous Blue Raincoat was hidden away in a little suburban shopping strip in the inner West of Melbourne.  I loved the funky decor indoors and the cute courtyard with fragrant jasmine and painted walls.  The menu seemed to be vegetarian-friendly.  With lots of people to catch up with and Sylvia keeping me on the my toes, I didn't eat that much.  The trays of finger food looked lovely.

I had planned to start on the Cherry Ripe Slice before the party.  My usual disorganisation found me starting on them while Sylvia ate her dinner.  Once I had decided against the slice, I thought I would just make Dan Lepard's cherry-coconut filling and roll it in chocolate.  However he called for 600g of glace cherries.  I am not such a fan of these super-sweet cherries and baulked at buying 6 x 100g packets of cherries.  So I only ended up buying 300g.

Even so, 300g cherries made the mixture very pink.  I misread the recipe and used more condensed milk than I should.  This made for very sticky mixture.  I had to have a tub of water beside me to keep my hands damp to make it easier to roll the balls.  Using the advice of Helen, I pushed icy pole sticks into each ball before they went into the freezer.

One of the biggest challenges was to fit the balls with sticks in the freezer.  Mine just seems choc-a-bloc lately.  It didn't help that the space I made was so stingy that I knocked some of the sticks as I put them in.  With the soft filling, the sticks were already a little wobbly.  Maybe thinner sticks would work better but the only ones I have found are so expensive.

The next challenge was how to dry the chocolate.  When I previously made cake pops, I put them in little cupcake papers without sticks.  It seemed that if I just dried them upside down they would look odd shaped (and the few I did dry upside down had a flat head that I wasn't so keen on).  I had no styrofoam to stick them in but I did have a blob of green playdough that my mum had made for Sylvia.  It meant that the sticks could dry upright for a few minutes before I put them upside down in the tub.  I still had a few falling off the stick, but I think these were the ones that had been out of the fridge too long and lost their firm shape.  Melted chocolate is brilliant for keeping them on the stick - once it dries.

We took them down to my parents place - an hour in the car.  I worried how they would travel without being in the fridge but they were fine.  I think these can be served at either fridge or room temperature - and would keep quite a while in the fridge (based on my observations of how long condensed milk keeps in the fridge).

My mum served them upside down on a plate.  They were served alongside regular family favourites - pavlova, sponge cake and caramel slice.  I love the idea of serving these "cake pops" with the balls at the top - maybe even stuck into a cake or brownie - but it probably would make them harder to pick up.  The plateful went quickly.  Everyone was so intrigued by them and kids loved the sticks. 

This is Sylvia's stick.  She loved them.  The pink inside made them fun but I knew that my family would just love the combination of condensed milk, coconut and chocolate - how could you go wrong.  I mentioned that I thought next time some chopped glace cherries would add a little more texture.  My brother Andy told me not to bother.  The other variation I think might be possible, is to make these vegan by using frosting instead of condensed milk.

We had a lovely time in Geelong.  Sylvia loves playing with her cousins.  They played hide and seek around the house and then went to the park at the local school where the kids played football, pirates and spies.  Sylvia was happy with the slide.  I loved this mural on the playground wall.  If I was still at school, this is where I would like to eat lunch every day - with cherry ripe cake pops in my lunchbox!

I am sending these cherry ripe cake pops to Chele of Chocolate Teapot for this month's We Should Cocoa.  This event is celebrating the end of its first year of chocolate challenge by Chele and her partner-in-cocoa - Choclette of Choclogblog.  The theme is a virtual birthday party.  I am sure these little cherry ripes would be great at a party, and Chele being an ex-pat Aussie, will appreciate that they are inspired by one of Australia's favourite chocolate bars.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Port Fairy - a welcome break
This time two years ago: Spring Beans
This time three years ago: A not-so-nasty pasty

Cherry ripe cake pops
inspired by Dan Lepard
Makes about 40

250g coconut
200g condensed milk (next time about half)
300g glace cherries (next time more)
500g x 70% dark chocolate (next time a bit less)

Place coconut, condensed milk and glace cherries in the food processor and blend.  (Next time I might put 300g in the food processor and finely chop 100g to stir in for a bit more texture.)

Find a board or plate that will fit in your freezer with space for the lollypop or icy pole sticks (see my pictures above).  Cover board or plate with baking paper.  If you can have a few small plates, or even a few strips of baking paper, that would be useful because it is easier to handle them if you can take out a few balls at a time.

Roll mixture into balls about the size of a walnut and place on covered board or plate.  Keep your hands damp with a bowl of water at your side to stop the mixture sticking from your hands as you roll the balls.  Stick a lollypop or icy pole stick in each ball.  (If you don't have any sticks, you can just makes them as truffles rather than cake pops - they will still taste excellent.)  Place board or plate of balls with sticks in the freezer to firm up.  I left mine for 3 hours but read that you could do this in about 1 1/2 hour!

Once you are ready to dip the balls, melt the chocolate in the microwave until liquid.  If possible, have somewhere to have them sit upright and dry once the chocolate is on them.  Styrofoam is ideal but I found playdough worked for me.  I did wonder about using a glass they could sit in.  Also have any sprinkles read, if you want to decorate them - I used red sparkles.

Now take out the balls, preferably in small batches.  (NB I took all mine out at once and found that I needed to put the undipped ones back in the freezer about halfway through to firm and cool again.)  Use stick to dip them in the chocolate - mine wasn't very deep so I had a spoon to help cover them.  Let chocolate drip and then quickly (because they will set quickly) scatter some sprinkles on top.  Place cake pops upright to dry for a minute or two if possible (I used playdough) and then transfer to a tub where they can be stored upside down.  Keep washing your hands if they get chocolate on them or they will smudge the sticks.

If you have any melted chocolate leftover (I melted 500g and had a bit leftover) you can spread it on a sheet of baking paper and firm up in the fridge.  Feel free to decorate as you wish with sparkles, nuts, coconut etc to make chocolate bark.

Keep cake pops in the fridge - ours didn't last long but I think they would last well in the fridge.  They can be served cold or at room temperature.

Update: I have made these a few times - see my cherry ripe pops in 2015.

On the Stereo:
Gulag Orkestar: Beirut


  1. It looks like you had a lovely day :) It's nice that Sylvia has cousins to play with nearby (or near-ish).

    I love this twist on the cherry ripe too. Oddly, I didn't like them much as a child, but I've grown into the chocolate cherry combination as an adult. Although I'm often happy to just pair fresh cherries with chocolate and leave it at that!

  2. I honestly don't know where you find the time for all your cooking and baking!! It's insanely amazing!

  3. yay! This is a fabulous post Johanna! I have to try to make these soon

  4. I wonder if this would work with regular dried cherries. Also did you use a fresh coconut or is it dried coconut?

  5. Never heard of a cherry ripe bar, but anything with cherries and chocolate is a winner. Lovely pink colour too.

  6. you had me at cherry ripe!! Must make a batch of these asap!

  7. Look rather nice! That Dan Lepard book is getting good use, eh? Worth getting? Fancy doing a quick review of it for us? Sounds like you had a greaT father's Day Weekend there. Funny, how it falls differently country to country. In the UK it's in June!

  8. Oh! My! Goodness! You're a genius :)

  9. Somehow I never did get on the cake pop train--but these look good regardless (as you say, how an you go wrong with condensed milk, coconut and chocolate?). And the visit at your parents' place sounds like fun, too. In your description of the process, though, you say that you put sticks in the pops before they went in the oven--I think you mean the freezer? ;)

  10. Ooh I do love Cherry Ripes! They're so often requested from friends and family overseas too as there isn't anything else really like them. Love the idea of making them into a pop! :)

  11. Desserts on a stick always seem so much more fun to me! What a great interpretation of those cherry bars!

  12. Man, these look good, Johanna! Could do with one right now.
    Thank you so very, very much for the donation. That was extremely generous of you. Makes me feel great knowing that someone on the other side of the world will be supporting me when I run. xxx

  13. These look like wonderful little lollipops! Or chewiepops, rather. :) Cherry lollipops were my favorites as a child, so these really remind of those times. :)

  14. No, no, no. There's no such thing as too much condensed milk ha ha. My family would LOVE if I showed up with some of these pops (who doesn't love Cherry Ripe?). So lovely Sylvia has cousins around her age to play with.

  15. Thanks Kari - I don't think I appreciate the chocolate cherry combination much as a child but now I love it - though usually not with glace cherries

    Thanks Hannah - all my baking and cooking probably is done in time when I should be doing something else but as we have to eat I justify it

    Thanks Anh - try them - they are great

    Thanks K - I used dessicated coconut - probably works best with the finer coconut to help it stick together - not sure how it would go with dried cherries - you could do it but may need to adjust sweetening and moisture as glace cherries are so sweet and sticky - and not sure what sort of colour you would get from dried cherries - but worth a try

    Thanks Katie - I think the kids enjoyed the colour - but the adults probably enjoyed the chocolate and cherry more

    Thanks Lisa - yes put them on your to do list

    Thanks Adam and Theresa - I don't actually have the dan lepard book - have thought about buying it because I love his recipes but so far am just checking them out online - you should check either his website or his guardian columns

    Thanks Shauna - I know you say this because you love cherry ripes - who wouldn't!

    Thanks Ricki - well spotted with that typo - have fixed it - and even though you haven't got on the cake pop train, I think some of your raw balls with chocolate coating would only need a stick in them to make them cake pops - though I am not sure if I play fast and loose with the term

    Thanks Lorraine - living without cherry ripes is one of the terrible things about living overseas - I am sure they are in many food packages to expats

    Thanks Joanne - yes I am getting really into dessert on a stick - heaps of my wooden sticks left for my fun!

    Thanks Wendy - all in a very good cause - I wish I could be there to hand you a cake pop at the end of your marathon

    Thanks Kath - Would love to taste your cherry lollypops - almost called these lollypops but they weren't hard enough to qualify so I like hearing the term chewiepops - never heard that one before

    Thanks Keely - oh I know what you mean about condensed milk - can't get enough of it

  16. They look good Johnanna, and I am delighted you remembered my tip.

    I am also impressed there is room in your freezer, mine is always bursting at the seams.

    I use coffee stirrers from Ikea in my cake pops.

    and my top tip for leftover condensed milk is to freeze it and eat from the tube with a teaspoon! yummy!

  17. Love it!!!! Book marking it!!! And they are just perfect for our virtual birthday party too! Thanks so much for taking part ;0)

  18. Wow that sure looks like a cosy eatery, a place that I know already that i would like.

    I admire your determination for making these cherry lollies. I think it was me, I would have chucked the whole lot in the bin out of frustration (truth is I wouldn't have been able to make them really as my freezer is small) but still I am Glad it worked out well and was enjoyed by all who sunk their teeth into these cherry bar sticks.

  19. You're so right, these cherry ripe pops would be most welcome at the party. I can well understand how they disappeared so quickly and the kids would love them with that lovely colour and on sticks too. Am wondering about another name based around the 4 Cs you used as ingredients, but haven't come up with anything so far. I can

  20. Ooo these look just right for me!! All my favourites - coconut, condensed milk & maraschino cherries! I would probably cover them in white chocolate, maybe dyed pink.

  21. Great job on the cake pops especially using playdough!


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