(c) 2011 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Cherry Cheesecake Balls are luscious balls of real cheesecake, mixed with fresh cherries and covered with a layer of chocolate. These candies are a fun way to use up leftover cheesecake, and the recipe can be scaled up or down depending on what you have on hand.
For this recipe, firm-textured cheesecakes work best. Do not use "no-bake" cheesecakes or very soft, creamy varieties. If cherries are not in season, you can substitute other berries or use canned Morello cherries, a delicious sweet-tart variety. I do not recommend using cherry pie filling or maraschino cherriesâ€"both of these options are far too sweet and artificial-tasting for this candy.
Yield: about 40 truffles
1 lb (about 2.5 cups crumbled) cheesecake, preferably without the crust
4 oz (about 2/3 cup)fresh cherries, pits and stems removed
1 lb chocolate candy coating
Sprinkles or other decorations
1. Coarsely chopped the pitted cherries and pat them dry between sheets of paper towel. If you are using canned Morello cherries, drain them and dry them very well before coarsely chopping them, then pat them dry again. The more moisture you remove, the easier it will be to form the cheesecake balls.
2. Crumble the cheesecake into a bowl, and try to avoid including the crust as much as possible. Add the chopped cherries and toss them into the cheesecake with your fingers, working them throughout the mixture. Try not to overwork the cheesecake too much, or it will get gummy and sticky.
3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop spoonfuls of the cheesecake onto a baking sheet lined with foil or waxed paper. If necessary, wet your hands and roll the cheesecake balls between your palms to make them fairly round.
4. Place the cheesecake balls in the refrigerator for an hour, or the freezer for about 20 minutes. They should be firm enough to dip, but not frozen or icy.
5. Melt the candy coating in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Once the coating is melted and smooth, use dipping tools or a fork to dip a cheesecake truffle completely in the coating. Remove it from the coating and let the excess drip back into the bowl, then replace the truffle on the baking sheet. While the coating is still wet, decorate the top with sprinkles or crushed graham crackers. Alternately, you can drizzle or pipe other designs on the truffles after they're set.
6. Once all of the truffles are dipped, let them set completely at room temperature before serving. Cherry Cheesecake Balls can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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