Baking With French Glace Cherries.

About three weeks ago I went along to Pudsey Clandestine Cake Club‘s last event which was very exciting.  It was sponsored by French Glace Cherries. Sharon the group organiser had been given lots of fantastic freebies for us all to take away and enjoy.  The event’s theme was A Kind Of Magic which to me conjured up images of the Queen song!  Though we all got our baking thinking caps on and there ended up being a little bit of cherry magic in there too!

You can find out more about the fun we had at the event here: http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/2015/06/18/clandestine-cake-club-kind-magic-sponsored-french-glace-cherries/

 I ended up baking a Cherry Bundt cake in the shape of a tree as I thought of  a childhood favourite storybook, The Magic Faraway Tree. Watch this space for a post about this cake coming up as soon as I have time to type it!

I was really intrigued to hear about French Glace Cherries.  They are a company I have not come across before.  The cherries themselves are grown down in the South of France (Provence, to be precise) and are completely natural in colour. Not at all like the bright red glace cherries my Nana used to buy to stick on top of her Angel Delight or trifles back in the 1970s!  I am a huge cherry fan and love glace cherries and love adding them to my baking when I can.  So I couldn’t wait to try and bake with them.  We were given a set of recipe cards but there are also loads of suggestions on the French Glace Cherries website.  I loved a lot of the ideas but I did fancy having a go at something myself.

The cherry freebies included two pots of natural coloured cherries. There was a pot of purple cherries and another one full of red ones.  I was very impressed with the quality of the cherries, round and plump and of a substantial size. I thought the purple cherries would work really well with chocolate, both with the colour and with flavour.  As I also love Empire Biscuits, I had a go at baking a chocolate and cherry version!

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A batch of chocolate shortbread cooling down on the rack in my kitchen.
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The Chocolate Empires were filled with a good quality brand of Morello cherry jam. I love Tiptree jam and their cherry jam has always been a favourite.
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The chocolate shortbreads were sandwiched together with the jam and then topped with a cream and dark chocolate ganache.
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I didn’t have enough purple cherries to top all the biscuits so had to add two more cherries to finish decorating off the batch from my own stash!
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Although I’m doing Weightwatchers I did allow myself one of these little beauties as a treat with a cup of tea!

I was thinking what I could do with my red cherries and came up with a few different ideas.  In the end I settled for some chunky all butter shortbread.  I haven’t baked any shortbread for a long time and I love it, it was always hugely popular when I ran my Sam’s Smart Cookies and Cupcakes stalls.  Trouble is shortbread doesn’t love my figure though!  The temptation was too much to bear though and I made up a batch of shortbread and added the cherries to it.  I washed the cherries thoroughly and patted them dry as well as chopping them up into quarters.  They then got pressed into the mixture hoping that they would stay intact.

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I used my regular shortbread recipe which is simply butter, caster sugar, plain flour and cornflour and then added the natural red cherries into the mixture.
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The shortbread was cut into 12 large pieces and thankfully the cherry pieces stayed intact. All it needed was a dusting of caster sugar!
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Mouthwateringly moreish shortbread. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to touch any- I’m doing Weightwatchers!

The cherry shortbread has been a huge hit with my family over the past few days.  I put the pieces into a box but when I got back in from work yesterday the box was completely empty.  My son and daughter have been eating it after school and my husband who doesn’t have a sweet tooth has been nibbling at it too!

A huge thankyou to French Glace Cherries for sponsoring various Clandestine Cake Club events over the past month.  We were all really happy with our goodies and I look forward to trying out my new kitchen timer and wearing my new apron when I’m next in the kitchen baking!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

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