Sour cherries don't have a long growing season, so buy them, pit them and play with them, because they disappear fast.
For this ice pop recipe, frozen cherries can easily be substituted, and, if you only use sweet cherries, these frozen treats will still satisfy.
Have people coming over? Entertaining a crowd? The cherry ice pops, candied hemp seed hearts and chocolate shell can be made up to two weeks in advance. To reheat the chocolate, gently rewarm it in a small saucepan over low heat. But you still want to ideally assemble and serve the pops the same day to make sure they look their best.
If you're not eating them immediately—we don't have that kind of restraint—store the pops in a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to two days.
Chocolate-Cherry Ice Pops with Candied Hemp Seeds
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 10 ice pops
Prep Time: 45 minutes, plus freezing time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes, plus freezing time
For the Sour Cherry Ice Pops:
4 cups (about 1¾ pounds) pitted sweet cherries
5 cups (about 1½ pounds) pitted sour cherries
½ cup sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
Pinch kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the Candied Hemp Seed Hearts:
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons water
⅔ cup hemp seed hearts
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Chocolate Shell:
3 cups (8½ ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
⅓ cup coconut oil
1. Make the sour cherry ice pops: In a large, wide-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, combine both types of cherries with the sugar. Cook, covered, until they are soft and tender yet still retain their shape, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook at a boil, stirring frequently, until the liquid has reduced to a syrup and the cherries are wrinkly, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a blender, combine the cherries, buttermilk, salt and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice; purée on high speed until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice. Makes 3 cups of purée. Pour the ice pop base into the molds. Insert an ice pop stick and freeze until solid, 7 to 8 hours.
3. Make the candied hemp seed hearts: Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and turns a butterscotch color, 4 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the hemp seeds and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until the hemp seeds turn light golden and become fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.
4. Spread the seeds onto the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with the salt and let cool until room temperature, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Make the chocolate shell: In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Melt, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate is just melted, about 2 minutes. Makes 1¼ cups chocolate sauce. Transfer to a tall glass or container so that the ice pops can be dipped in.
6. Unmold the ice pop: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer to the freezer to chill. One at a time, dip a frozen ice pop mold into a bowl of warm water for 10 to 15 seconds. Gently pull the ice pop to release from the mold and transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Freeze the unmolded ice pops for at least 15 minutes before dipping them into the chocolate sauce.
7. Assemble: Dip the sour cherry ice pop into the chocolate sauce then sprinkle with the crushed candied hemp seeds to coat. Serve immediately or store in freezer.