When I was a little girl, my father would occasionally bring a box of chocolates home after being gone on a business trip. There were many different flavors, but my favorites were always chocolate covered cherries. These Fresh Cherry and Chocolate Chip Sundaes are a fun riff on the classic candy.
You cook the fruit with liquid to create a sauce and I chose to use Port, a lovely dessert-style wine that adds depth and decadence to the sauce. For a non-alcoholic version, use one of the fruit juices suggested. By adding some fresh fruit right at the end, you get the softened juicy sauce with some firm fresh fruits, a beautiful combination of textures.
Today’s recipe is inspired by a recipe from Wendy at The Weekend Gourmet, a Texas native living in San Antonio. Wendy makes her version healthier by using frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Her favorite fruit is strawberries and she used those to create the sauce for her dessert, but when I saw the beautiful cherries at our farmer’s market, I couldn’t resist.
Instead of vanilla ice cream, which would be delicious, I chose strawberry (couldn’t find any cherry) – isn’t the pale pink beautiful! Of course you can pick your own favorite flavor combinations and have endless varieties for dinner parties!
The addition of chocolate chips took this right over the edge for me. It was the combination of cherry and chocolate, a classic match that was surely made in heaven.
I made two versions – one in a bowl, which is basically a sundae, and one in a glass that is the perfect for parfaits. Beautiful to look at either way, the taller glass is a more dramatic presentation perfect for parties.
Oh. My. Goodness. You are going to LOVE these! A little tart and a little sweet. The cool and creamy ice cream, the soft and luscious fruit, and the surprising crunchy chunks of chocolate make the perfect dessert for any time of the year, but especially on hot summer nights. WOW!
Head to the farmer’s market and grab the most beautiful fresh fruits and make these Fresh Cherry and Chocolate Chip Sundaes. It is the best way to celebrate the bounty of the season!!
Happy Chocolate Monday!
This recipe is naturally gluten-free. As always, check the labels on the ice cream and chocolate chips if you are making these for anyone with Celiac or serious gluten-intolerance.
Kitchen Skill: Pitting Fresh Cherries
I don’t often recommend kitchen gadgets, but there is a tool called a cherry pitter that will make this task much easier and quicker. They are not too expensive and they make it easy to choose fresh cherries over canned. You can use it to pit olives too! If you don’t want to buy a pitter, using a paring knife to cut them in half, then pry the pits out works too. There is a version that comes with a splatter guard to help protect your clothes and countertop when using and pits 6 cherries at one time! Cherry juice stains just about anything, so be sure to cover up with an apron or chef’s jacket when working with them.
- 16 oz finely sliced fresh cherries, divided
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup port wine (or orange, apple, or cranberry juice)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste, pure extract, or 2 vanilla beans, scraped
- 4 cups strawberry ice cream, frozen yogurt, or other favorite flavor
- 10 oz semisweet chocolate chips or shaved chocolate
- Additional fresh cherries for garnish, optional
- Fresh mint sprigs for garnish, optional
- Prepare the Cherry-Port Sauce: Place 1/2 the cherries in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon juice, port, sugar, and vanilla. Stir to moisten the sugar and blend the ingredients together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. (Use a fruit juice in place of the port for a non-alcoholic version.)
- Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking at a low boil for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Smash some of the cherries to help them release their juices. An old-fashioned potato masher works great for this!
- Remove from the heat and add in the other half of the cherries. This makes sure that there are some large, chunky, firm pieces in the sauce. Continue cooking the cherries for another 10 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 2 or 3 days. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- To Serve: Place 1/2 cup of the ice cream in the bottom of each glass. If you can, use clear glass wine glasses or parfait glasses where you can see the layers. Top the ice cream with 2 tbsp of the strawberry sauce and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the chocolate chips. Add another scoop of ice cream to each glass, top with another 2 tbsp of sauce and 2 tbsp of chocolate chips.
- If you want, you can garnish with a whole cherry and a sprig of mint.
- Yield: 4 servings
Create a New Tradition Today!
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