I LOVE my job! Sometimes I walk into the shop, pause for a moment, breathe deep and say a prayer of gratefulness that God has blessed me with so much joy in my work. I get to imagine beautiful things every day, and then create them with my own hands, and then share them with people all over the world! It doesn’t get any better than this! Sometimes my ideas are BIG…so big that they take nearly two years to create and sometimes they’re tiny…like my newest cordial cherry design: my Easter Flower Patch Bunny. I know bunnies actually have nothing to do with Easter, but they’re certainly a sign of Spring and have brought my kids and me much joy over the years watching them play chase in our back yard. Once, I watched one of these bunnies stretch up as high as she could to nibble the petals right off of an unsuspecting flower…it was adorable! So this newest cordial cherry collection the result of that day’s inspiration.
Unlike most chocolatiers, our pieces are often a multi-day process of punching out specific shapes, sculpting various parts, dipping, and finally assembling all the pieces and applying the finishing touches. On day one of production for our newest design I punch out “V” shaped sugar pieces and let them harden overnight. These will become little bunny ears. I also pipe by hand, tiny little flowers. Once set, they can be painted with shimmer spray and then dotted with their center detail.
Day two, requires sculpting the head out of a rolled fondant and shaping it around the “V” from the day before. It’s important to set these on wax paper to create a flat bottom so they don’t roll around and also that they lift off easily when ready to dip. These will set overnight as well to allow them dry enough so they will dip easily.
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Day three…it’s time to dip our bunny heads into a white chocolate. This process is delicate and must be conducted within about 10 seconds. I use two of my favorite chocolate tools (reshaped paperclips)…one is used to lift the fondant head and the other is used to push it onto the wax paper. Once the white chocolate sets up these sweet little bunny heads are ready for their hand-painted faces.
We use white chocolate cordial cherries to be the body of our Easter Bunnies. The cherry stem is removed and a dollop of chocolate glues the bunt head to its body. The stem of the flower is painted and the flower attached. The final step is to pipe the little bunny feet and arms. And that's it...three days later...our sweet little Easter Bunny cordial cherries are complete.
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Few things drum up as much fantastical imagination as unicorns...and when they're made of chocolate and cherries there's even more magic! If you're on social media at all, especially Instagram, you've probably seen any number of sweet unicorn fantasies. You name it...Unicorn Cupcakes, Unicorn Cake Pops, Unicorn Popsicle Pops, Unicorn Lattes, Unicorn Chocolate Bark, Unicorn EVERYTHING! But, there's only one place you'll find Unicorn Cordial Cherries....right here at The Cordial Cherry!
It's an interesting story how our Unicorn Cordial Cherries came to be...it all started one day when I was brainstorming ideas for a new Polar Animals Cordial Cherry collection for this next holiday season. We had a Polar Bear Cordial Cherry and a Penguin Cordial Cherry already and just needed one more design to complete the set. Arctic foxes, walruses, those fluffy white bunnies...we tried all sorts of things, but were just discouraged with the way they were turning out. Then it hit me! How about a Narwhal! They're polar, and cute, and the shape was workable, so we got to work straight away...experimenting with paint, and horns, and sculpting. Eventually we had the first ever Narwhal Cordial Cherry and I couldn't be more pleased...they're absolutely adorable...just look at these little guys...
The problem is that most people have no idea what a Narwhal is. If you've ever watched the movie "Elf" starring Will Ferrell, you might remember this scene? Buddy the Elf (played by Will Ferrell) begins his adventure to New York City to find his dad and Mr. Narwhal says, "Bye Buddy, I hope you find your dad."
So for those of you who aren't Will Ferrell/Buddy the Elf fans or marine biology geeks, narwhals are in fact REAL animals unlike unicorns. They're adorable Arctic whales with a horn that resembles that of a unicorn. But, as cute as they are, I was concerned that people might think that we tried to make a unicorn and well...missed the mark. I reasoned that if we designed a Unicorn Cordial Cherry also then people could see clearly the the difference between the two.
I gave Maria Kirwin, chocolatier and artist, the task of designing a Unicorn Cordial Cherry and boy did she knock it out of the park! She begins each unicorn by hand-sculpting beneath the chocolate to achieve a shape consistent with the body of a unicorn. She uses rolled fondant, which is a perfect medium for creating nearly any desired shape.
She then prepares the miniature golden horns...each one is twisted and measured and then hand-painted with a shimmery edible golden paint. A toothpick eliminates the need to try to handle these tiny pieces.
Maria pipes each Unicorn's delicate little ears and attaches their hand-made and hand-painted candy horns. A few carefully placed dollops of pastel colored white chocolate to create a mane and tail nearly complete this tiny work of art.
Unicorn eyelashes are the finishing touch on these magical chocolates...and there you have it...the first and only Unicorn Cordial Cherries, inspired by our Narwhal Cordial Cherries!
Click HERE to watch Maria make our Unicorn Cordial Cherries...
Chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, baskets of fake grass, and jellybeans galore...these are all signs that Easter is fast approaching. The beautiful pastel dresses and tiny sweater vests in the department store tug at my heartstrings as I remember all the fuss over sewing Easter dresses for my daughter and dressing my boys in short pants and newsboy hats. I LOVE making this day memorable...the special clothes, the Easter service, the symbolic table settings, fancy desserts...EVERYTHING! With all the hubbub though, it's no wonder that the true message of Easter can get lost, especially for children.
I couldn't resist the opportunity to share a couple pictures of my boys wearing their short pants and newsboy hats...
Anyway...a few years ago, Max, my oldest son who was eight at the time, asked me a question that I'm embarrassed to say I never really thought about prior to his inquiry. He said, "Mom, what do bunnies and eggs have to do with Easter?" We were at the shop when he asked...I was making our sweet little bunny cordial cherries...and his question caused me to pause for a moment. After, thinking for a bit, and having done no Googling or other investigation, I responded with, "Nothing, I suppose." In typical Max fashion, there was most certainly a follow-up question...which I knew was coming and for which I had no good answer. "Well, why do we have bunnies and eggs at Easter then?" he asked. I was stumped...I should know this...but I didn't. And, what bothered me most is that I was preparing and selling chocolate cordial cherry bunnies and eggs and therefore perpetuating this holiday tradition for which I had no idea why.
I have since investigated the answers to Max's questions and it turns out that bunnies and eggs in fact have nothing to do with Easter. And, while chocolate bunnies and eggs are a fun a tasty tradition, they do little to help children reflect on the Easter story. I decided that year to design a collection of cordial cherries that would tell the Easter story...I call it our "He is Risen" collection.
The He is Risen collection includes four cordial cherry pieces...
~ The Crown of Thorns ~ Matthew 27:29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they placed it on His head.
~ The Cross ~ Mathew 27:37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
~ The Tomb with Stone Rolled Away ~ Mathew 27:2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Matthew 27:5 and 6 ~ The Angel ~ The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
The interview from the evening...
Do you ever feel like you're being led to help someone but you're not sure where to go or where to start? And then God, in His mysterious ways, prepares the path that He's carefully designed to satisfy the desire He placed in your heart. That's exactly how I felt a year ago...little did I know that donating chocolates to a fund raising event (which I had done countless times before) would result in me serving as a mentor to teen moms.
I was a teen mom...I remember the feeling of hopelessness and fear. I remember the uncertainty of my future and my daughter's future. And, looking back, if it weren't for mentors in my life at the time and the peace that only God's love can bring, my life and my daughter's life would have taken a very different road. Feeling thankful every day for the bounty of blessings God has given my family, I had been looking for an opportunity to serve as a mentor for a young mom going through the same things I experienced.
In the Spring of 2016, I was approached by a few representatives of Youth for Christ...an organization that seeks to establish Christian youth groups in public schools. They asked me to provide chocolates for their fund raiser, an event called "See the Story." As the evening progressed, I was moved to tears several times as youth and volunteers stood up to share their stories. Toward the end of the night, Carey Oswald (Director of Parent Life a subgroup of Youth for Christ) shared the story of one of the teen moms she had been working with, and in that moment I knew why I had been led here...I knew what I was supposed to do. I messaged the organizers and asked how to get involved.
Long story short...this past year, I've been spending every Wednesday evening getting to know some amazing moms and their beautiful babies. These moms have faced trials that most of us only hear about on the news...they get up every day and make a decision to be a loving mom in spite of the struggles they face. They're wise enough to seek the guidance of mentors and the sense of family that Parent Life brings. I'm so proud of each of them and they inspire me every week.
If you'd like to come and hear a little of my story and the story of one of our teen moms, you're invited to attend the See the Story event on Sunday, March 5th at the Embassy Suites in LaVista. The evening starts with food and fellowship at 5:30 and The Cordial Cherry will be serving desserts to close out the night. I promise it will be a memorable evening. To reserve your completely FREE tickets or to get more information on how to get involved...
I bacon your pardon, but we’ve got a SOOEYT Valentine’s Day gift idea for you…our Pink Piggy Cordial Cherries! It’s hard to look at these adorable little oinkers without smiling and you can bet your Valentine will smile too. And, that’s just the beginning…one taste of these chocolate covered cordial cherries and you can expect squeals of delight. In fact, we guarantee hogs and kisses will follow! And, if you want your piggies to fly, remember we ship!
Use online discount code: PINK50 and for in store pickup call (402-679-3011) between 12:00 and 5:00 CS.