|February 13, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under cherries, chocolate, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, party foods, published, sweet treats, Valentine's Day|
Published in Carolina Country Magazine ~ February 2018
I do love cherries! Any kind of cherries, but most especially, maraschino cherries. There’s just something about those bright red sweet little nuggets that take me back to my childhood in an instant.
I suppose my cherry affection is genetic. My Daddy Hocutt and Ma Hocutt, my mama’s mama and daddy, planted cherry trees in their back yard in Zebulon when they built their house back in the early 1950’s. It was only the 6th house built in the city limits best I remember them telling me. When I was born in 1958, they planted me a tree! My Daddy Hocutt died when I was only 8 years old… he had a massive heart attack and they went off the side of a remote mountain road near Charlottesville, VA coming back from vacation in Washington, DC. He died then and there, and Ma Hocutt was torn all to pieces and was “invalid” the rest of her life until she died at 91.
Ok… so back to the story. Every year, when the cherry trees would blossom, Daddy Hocutt would cover them with this gauze kinda cloth to keep the birds from eating our cherries! He would let me help him do that. And I can remember waiting impatiently for “my” cherries to ripen so we could pull that cloth back and eat cherries until I had a stomach ache. After he died, the trees all just wearied themselves away, but I do have a few short years of those memories.
We had a place in town called the Dairy Bar. One side served the BEST cheeseburgers, hot dogs… and milkshakes! The other little room had a jukebox and bar stools where the cool teenagers would go hang out and dance. Daddy Hocutt would sometimes take me in there for burgers and a shake.
Ma Hocutt loved a cherry milkshake too! And after a few years of recovery from their accident, she was able to drive again. She would ride over the the Watkins Dairy Bar, just a few blocks from her house, and toot the horn. They knew she wasn’t able to get out and walk in to order, so they’d just make a cherry milkshake… and take it out to her! If I went with her, I’d go in and order them… “2 cherry milkshakes please!”
They were in those big old waxed cups… white, with red lines around them and best I remember, hearts around the tops. And big ass straws!
God I loved those things! And to this day, still my favorite of all milkshakes, but it’s near’bout impossible to find a good cherry milkshake anymore!
Did you know that Dairy Queen… yep, the Dairy Queen, doesn’t have cherries?
How in the hell can you have a proper sundae, or banana split, without a cherry on top? Silliest thing I’ve ever heard tell of! Cherries are a staple of such.
Sooooo… when coming up with ideas for the February issue of Carolina Country, my mind immediately went to cherries! I also associate cherries with Valentine’s Day. And I created some really yummy chocolate cherry truffles for Our State magazine years back too. I will have to throw those here on my blog soon too.
But for now, for my maraschino cherry brothers and sisters… I encourage you to make these rice krispie treats! They are cherrylicious… fun to eat AND share. Grab some icing in those tubes and sprinkles and let your aspiring little culinarians get creative in decorating.
Y’all have a Happy Valentine’s Day too… I love you all for being here!
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 16 ounce bag mini marshmallows
- 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 16 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained & chopped (save juice)
- 8 cup Rice Krispies® cereal
- 1 cup toasted almonds, crumbled
- decorating icing and sprinkles
- heart shaped cookie cutters
Melt butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cherries and cereal.
Using a buttered spatula, fold together until well combined. Pour out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread to about 1-inch thickness. Cool.
Cut, decorate and dust with toasted almonds.
Very Cherry Vanilla Treats
Make basic recipe, stirring in 2 tablespoons of red cherry gelatin powder.
Black Forest Treats
Make basic recipe, substituting chocolate Rice Krispies cereal. Stir 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in with cereal.
Cherry Juice Goodness
Wait! Don’t pour out that delicious drained cherry juice leftover from this recipe. Use in frostings, whipped cream or cake batter. A splash makes your hot chocolate into “Chocolate Covered Cherry” hot chocolate and will turn your cola drinks into fun cherry ones. Use to make lemon or limeade cherry ice cubes, too.
Make a batch of this decadent Coconutty Hot Chocolate mix to enjoy often — and share, too! Topped with a dollop of fluffy coconut whipped cream, this dairy-free delight is just what we all need at the end of a chilly winter day … pajamas not included.
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