When I was a little girl, one of the fanciest treats were chocolate-covered cherries. In those days they were most likely sweetened Maraschino cherries covered with milk chocolate. Today’s Fresh Cherry Chocolate Chip Parfaits are a fun spin on the classic, using the sweetest fresh cherries of the season paired with velvety ice cream and crunchy chocolate bits. Every bite is heavenly!
This month for the Secret Recipe Club I was lucky to be assigned The Weekend Gourmet blog written by Wendy, where she shares her adventures in the kitchen and on the road. Wendy is a native Texan living in San Antonio. There is a huge tradition of hospitality and great food in Texas and I am sure that Wendy throws one heck of a party. You just have to take a look at her blog to know that!
Today’s Fresh Cherry Chocolate Chip Parfaits recipe has a delicious sauce served over ice cream in a parfait. Wendy’s original recipe was made with strawberries, and shaved chocolate. But since I am making this in summer, I switched to fresh cherries, which are in season and gorgeous. When I saw them at the market, I just couldn’t resist! They did take longer to cook, but it was worth the wait!
Wendy serves hers with frozen yogurt, a wonderful low fat, healthy option. I chose to serve it with strawberry ice cream. Aren’t the pink and red beautiful together! You can use any flavor you like, of either frozen yogurt or ice cream, to create the dessert of your dreams!
The addition of chocolate chips took this right to the top 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 a delicious sundae, and one in a glass that is 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 this! A little tart, a little sweet. The cool and luscious ice cream, the soft and luscious fruit, and the surprising chunks of chocolate make the perfect dessert for any time of the year, but especially on hot summer nights. WOW!
We thoroughly enjoyed these fabulous Fresh Cherry and Chocolate Chip Parfaits. I know it would be equally as good made with fresh strawberries as you did, but I am thrilled that cherries were in season and I got to utilize them.
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Key Ingredients for Fresh Cherry and Chocolate Chip Parfaits:
- Fresh cherries, lemon juice, port wine (or fruit juice)
- Sugar, vanilla paste, ice cream, chocolate chips, mint
Tools for Pitting Cherries:
You can buy a tool called a single cherry pitter that will make this task much easier and quicker. This is one that I think is worth buying and storing during the off-season. They are not expensive and they make it easy to choose fresh cherries over canned. OXO has a version that pits multiple cherries at once and comes with a splatter guard to help protect your clothes and countertop when using.
A pitter works to pit olives too! If you don’t want to buy a pitter, using a paring knife and prying the pits out works too.
How to make Fresh Cherry and Chocolate Chip Parfaits:
- Cook together half the cherries with lemon juice, port, sugar, and vanilla; smash some of the cherries to release their juices
- Stir in remaining cherries cook another 10 minutes then transfer to a container and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to several days
- Place half the ice cream in the bottom of each glass, top with some of the sauce and chocolate chips; repeat the layers
- Finish with a mint and whole cherry garnish if desired
Cherry juice stains just about any surface, so cover up with an apron or chef’s jacket when working with cherries.
You can use a different fresh fruit in this recipe, such as blackberries or blueberries, but the cooking times will likely be different. Go by consistency more than timing. Complement the flavors by using an appropriate fruit juice along with the lemon in place of the port wine if you prefer.
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Paring knife
- Cutting board
- Cherry pitter or multi-cherry pitter
- Potato masher
- Parfait glasses
You need to watch out for the port. Be sure you are using a gluten-free variety or use one of the alternate options if you are concerned. Be sure that the ice cream you use doesn’t have any gluten-containing ingredients like cookie dough, etc.
- 2 cups diced fresh cherries, divided (or other fresh fruits)
- 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 or pure extract
- 4 cups strawberry (or other flavor) ice cream or frozen yogurt
- 16 tbsp (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.
- 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 cherry sauce and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the chocolate chips. Add another 1/2 cup of ice cream to each glass, top with another 2 tbsp of sauce and 2 tbsp of chocolate chips.
- Garnish with a whole cherry and a sprig of mint if desired.
- Recipe Source: The Heritage Cook
Original Recipe on The Weekend Gourmet; Strawberry-Chocolate Frozen Yogurt Parfaits
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1811Total Fat: 139gSaturated Fat: 86gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 44gCholesterol: 275mgSodium: 208mgCarbohydrates: 155gFiber: 12gSugar: 135gProtein: 16g
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