Last week I made some Faux-Schino Cherries for our traditional coffee cake. The reason we do this is because it is SO hard to find any that are naturally colored. One of our children has reactions to various food dyes, so we have had to search out alternatives.
These are not low sugar! They just don't contain all the extra chemicals in those beautiful jars on the grocery store shelves. We chop them up and use them in baking, so they don't have to be the most beautiful in the world (and they aren't when made from frozen cherries). If you want prettier cherries, you most likely have to start from fresh cherries which are not available all year round in our neck of the woods!
I hope this helps somebody out there looking for alternatives like we were! My nephew just asked for this recipe as he lives on a different continent and is not able to find maraschino cherries consistently ... and he would like to share Nana's Coffee Cake with his family :)
(no chemically colored fruit for us!)
Approx. 2 lbs frozen cherries ( I have used both sweet and tart, they are both yummy!)
2 cups liquid from cherries (add water if needed)
1 ½ cup sugar
1 star anise pod (I never remember to buy these, so I have left these out)
Pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure almond extract(or more, to taste)
Thaw and drain cherries, reserving liquid.
In medium saucepan combine juice, sugar, anise pod, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
Add the cherries, lemon juice and almond extract and simmer for 5 minutes.
Let cool and transfer to container(s) and refrigerate until needed.