I celebrated a birthday recently, and even though I couldn't do a big celebration like I would have wanted, I definitely felt the love. Two of my good friends, who are both from Italy, took time out to send me some Italian goodies: Gorgonzola cheese, some delicious cured meats, focaccia, and a jar of Fabbri Amarena cherries.
I had never had Amarena cherries before, but they were so delicious. They have a complex tartness that balances the sweetness in the syrup so well! They reminded me of the cherries you get when you order an Aviation at a cocktail bar, but better. I knew immediately I would want to put them to good use. This cherry chocolate sauce was my answer. I put it on ice cream with some roasted pistachios, but I can see myself putting it on EVERYTHING. See below for some great ideas for how to use this delicious cherry chocolate sauce!
What are Amarena cherries?
Amarena cherries are Italian wild black cherries in a rich syrup made from their own juices. They originated in 1905, when Gennaro and Rachele Fabbri created the recipe from wild cherries that grew near their property, and began selling the preserved cherries in their trademark blue and white ceramic jars. Today, you can still get Amarena cherries from Fabbri, and they are also available from several other outlets, including Trader Joe's. I picked mine up on Amazon.
The Amarena cherries in this cherry chocolate sauce have a rich, tart flavor and come in a distinctive sweet syrup. If you haven't tried them before, I'm sure you'll fall in love!
Why you'll love this chocolate sauce
First of all, it's so good. Chocolate and cherry is a classic combination, but it gains new life with this cherry chocolate sauce. The cherries are tart and deeply sweet, and the chocolate sauce is made with dark brown sugar so it has a richer, less sweet quality to it. The two go so well together!
Second, it's made up of high-quality, real ingredients. If you've purchased chocolate syrup or chocolate sauce for ice cream before, you might have seen high fructose corn syrup, vanillin (a.k.a. fake vanilla flavoring), and preservatives. So on top of tasting better, this cherry chocolate sauce is simpler, with better ingredients!
Plus, this Amarena cherry chocolate sauce is incredibly easy to make. Just pick up some cherries and you're just a few more ingredients (that you likely already have on hand) away from a delicious topping for ice cream or any other dessert!
As I mentioned, you most likely have most of these ingredients in your kitchen already! And with the exception of milk (which is optional), these are all pantry items, so no worries about
- Amarena cherries - I used Fabbri Amarena cherries, but there are several brands that produce this kind of cherries, including Trader Joes. If you aren't able to find Amarena cherries, Luxardo Marasca cherries are a great substitute.
- unsweetened cocoa powder - perfect for that deep chocolate flavor.
- dark brown sugar - not too sweet because of its molasses content, but adds a delicious richness.
- pure vanilla extract - very important to add some flavor! You could also try almond extract -- it would go very well with the cherries!
- milk (optional) - I like to add milk to make the sauce slightly creamy, but if you want to keep it dairy-free you can definitely omit the milk or substitute your favorite non-dairy milk!
- salt - just a little, to bring out all the flavors.
- water - for the right consistency.
How to use your Amarena cherry chocolate sauce
The best part about this sauce is how versatile it is. Once you've made it, you'll constantly think of more ways to use it -- that is, if you're not just sneaking tastes of it with a spoon! Here are a few ideas:
- Ice cream topping - This was the first idea that came to mind, perhaps because the Fabbri Amarena cherries jar has a photo on it of cherries poured over vanilla ice cream. Either way, this is a foolproof way to take your ice cream to the next level! I loved the ice cream with this cherry chocolate sauce and some roasted pistachios sprinkled on top. Yum!
- Cheesecake topping - this cherry chocolate sauce would be perfect on a vanilla cheesecake, or even more decadent on a chocolate cheesecake!
- Cocktails - I can envision a delicious chocolate covered cherry martini with some of this sauce lining the inside of the glass, or a little of this sauce drizzled into a Manhattan? The possibilities are endless.
- Pound cake - this cherry chocolate sauce is a great accompaniment to a simple vanilla pound cake and some fresh homemade whipped cream! What a simple, elegant dessert!
- Chocolate cake - I could see this sauce draped over a chocolate bundt cake or even spilling out of some chocolate lava mini cakes!
- Pancakes and Waffles - if you like really decadent brunch treats, this sauce on top of some waffles or chocolate chip pancakes would be amazing.
- Dipping sauce for fruits - for a quick, fun party appetizer or just a yummy snack!
What other ways would you use this cherry chocolate sauce? Let me know in the comments below!
The richness of this chocolate sauce reminds me a lot of my triple chocolate pecan brownies! They're fudgy in the center and slightly cake on the edges, and their brown butter and three kinds of chocolate take them over the top! Or for the same fruit/chocolate combination, try my raspberry frosted fudge brownies or my deliciously buttery chocolate orange slice-and-bake shortbread cookies!
You might also like my mini chocolate cake for another delicious chocolate fix! This cake is SO easy to make and it's topped with the most luscious chocolate buttercream frosting. It's a small batch recipe, so it's perfect for one or two chocolate lovers!
- Whisk together brown sugar, cocoa powder, water, and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 3-5 minutes, whisking, until cocoa powder and sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth.
- Stir in milk, vanilla, chopped cherries, and cherry syrup.
- Serve warm or store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
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