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Cherry Relleno (Almond Stuffed Cherries) (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

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Before we dive into this recipe, lets talk pheromones, yes you heard me right… pheromones!

Pheromones are chemicals secreted by the body that may influence the behavior of those of the same species.  Research shows each person produces pheromones with a unique chemical formula.  But did you know there are certain foods such as chocolate that can mimic human pheromones.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains a pheromone that has been linked to the feelings of happiness and good moods.  Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a stimulant that causes a sense of excitement and well-being.  According to CBS News, the pheromone in chocolate is similar to the hormone dopamine.  This is perhaps the reason so many people eat chocolate when they are stressed or worried.

I will be very honest here, I am not a strong chocolate lover.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy chocolate but if you were to set a bowl of fresh cherries and a bowl of chocolates in front of me… the cherries would be gone in no time flat.  Chocolate just doesn’t tempt me.  My grandmother on the hand, well shoot, I have witnessed her down a box of chocolate covered cherries in one sitting.  A big box, all by herself!  And trust me, she is an itty bitty thing.  I don’t know how she does it.

So, there is science behind chocolate, but who really cares, right?  What we really care about right now is making these lovely morsels and devouring them!  For this recipe, I used store-bought, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free, free-trade, vegan chocolate chips (well that was a mouthful!).  I get many emails from readers who have a hard time getting their hands on raw cacao powder so I wanted to test it out using store-bought chocolate.  That way I can help those of you out there who can’t readily obtain raw cacao.  For those of you who wish to make this with raw chocolate, you can do so… Ok, let’s get busy.



  1. Wash, remove the stems and pits from the cherries.  Here I used a mix of Bing and Reiner Cherries.
  2. After soaking and removing the skins of the almonds, stuff an almond into each cherry.  Place the stuffed cherry on the mesh sheet that comes with your dehydrator.
  3. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 105 degrees and continue to dry for approximately 24 hours or until dry.  Remove and allow them to cool to room temperature.
  4. If making this raw – Prepare the hardening chocolate recipe
  5. If using store-bought chocolate chips –
    •  Melting in the microwave – pour 1/2 of the bag of chips into a DRY glass bowl.  Melt on 30 second intervals, stirring in between each round.  Do this about 3x (this will depend on your microwave).   Don’t melt 100%, the heat of the melted chocolate will help to melt the last remaining ones.  This will assure that you don’t overheat the chocolate which will result in lumpy chocolate.
    • Melting in double boiler – Bring the water to a simmer, pour the bag of chocolate chips into your double boiler.  Stir constantly, once most of the chocolate chips are melted reduce the heat to the lowest setting.  Continue stirring until all of the chocolate is melted.  Be careful that you don’t allow any moisture into the pan,  this will cause your chocolate to seize.  Once melted, turn the heat off and start dipping your cherries.
  6. Dip each dried stuffed cherry into the chocolate, coating it well, tap off the excess chocolate.  I use a small fork as a platform to hold the cherry, tap it on the side of the bowl, scrap the bottom the fork with the edge of the spatula and slide the cherry onto the tray with a toothpick.  Place on a solid surface (etc. cutting board, tray, teflex sheet, wax paper).
  7. Allow the chocolate to harden.  DO NOT place in the fridge to harden.  The moisture can cause white streaks on your chocolate.  Place them in a cool spot of the house to harden.
  8. Store in an airtight container.

Culinary Explanations:

  • Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F).  Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
  • When working with fresh ingredients it is important to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).


One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage.  Daily I get questions regarding substitutions.  Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe.    I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family.  I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.

So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item.  Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient.   Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself.   So have fun, don’t be afraid,  and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.

Next I am going to share with you  WHAT NOT TO DO… I thought I would save some time by dropping a handful of my dried almond stuffed cherries into the bowl of melted chocolate.  Seemed logical to me.  But as you can see it made for some “not so appealing” chocolate nuggets.  Mind you, they tasted amazing but not so pretty to look at.  Lesson learned… some things are not meant to be rushed.

In the photo below I tried again with an extra dose of patience.  I dipped the cherries in dark and white chocolate.  This round I took my time and dipped one cherry at a time.  You can see the difference it made.

Towards the end, I saved a little white chocolate and dark chocolate to use for drizzling.  I put the melted chocolate into a Ziplock baggies, pressed the air out, snipped the bottom corner and wa-la, a piping bag!  I gently squeezed the bag as I quickly passed over the cherries.  The quicker you are, the thinner the stream will be, making it more delicate looking.  This process takes just a matter of seconds.

Next, allow the chocolate to harden.  DO NOT put them straight into the fridge!  The moisture from the fridge will cause a discoloration of the chocolate.  It won’t effect the taste but they won’t look as pretty.  Today, was a warm day outside which translated into warm temptures in the house.  This made it hard for my chocolates to harden so I grabbed my trays and went on a hunt for a cool spot in the house.  After several rooms, I came upon a nice chilled room… the “work-in progress” massage room!  So there are my cherries, spread out on the massage table, just’a chilling! lol

After the chocolates have hardened (thank you sweetie for volunteering to make sure, it took 4 to make sure lol) you can now store them.  If you REALLY want to get technical, you should wear white cotton gloves when handling chocolates, this prevents fingerprints and smudges from happening.   But if this isn’t a concern to you, pop those babies off the trays right into your favorite storage container, I am guessing your mouth can only hold about 8 of them, so you will need to find a larger container.  :)  I have several pictures to share with you.  I wanted to give you some ideas on how to be creative with them.   I hope you don’t mind.  But before I show you all of those, below I posted a picture of how I am freezing some of mine.  I took a piece of cardboard and lined it with tinfoil.  I then placed the chocolate stuffed cherries on the board and wrapped a piece of plastic wrap around them.  I then slid the cherries into a FoodSaver bag and sealed it.  It worked like a charm.  This way, it won’t get spoiled with freezer burn!

Below, I used small jars and snack sized Ziplocks to create gift sized portions.  Using my computer and my never-failing Print Shop program, I made special labels for them.  I have entirely too much fun with all of this!

Next, I used small little plastic bags (used for suckers, found in the candy making section) and placed 5 treats per bag and tied them closed with twine. Below, this box that I found at Michael’s Craft Store worked perfectly for creating an assortment box for gift giving.

Ok, last but not least… if you have a patient partner who has to put up with smelling your wonderful creations, who has to walk by time and time again and gets his hands slapped as he/she tries to sneak one here and there, they deserve their very own “Stash”!!!  This is important, so don’t forget this step.  Below, is Bob’s…

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21 thoughts on “Cherry Relleno (Almond Stuffed Cherries) (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

  1. Julie says:

    I can’t wait to try your new creation Amie Sue!
    I love them :)
    Your partner must be a very lucky guy ;-)


  2. Jana says:

    Okay you got me… I’ll take a box of the chocolates and a massage. That will do for today. ;)

    love to you,
    Jana X

    PS: the packages are once more stunning!

    • amie-sue says:

      haha Jana… me too! I need a massage after all that. :) I look forward to meeting you next month…YAY!!! Have a great day, amie sue

  3. Louise Johnston says:

    Oh ya!
    You are the best!
    Chocolate covered cherries! I am in love!
    Great gift ideas. Creative packaging too.
    I will try these.
    I made chocolate covered raisins once after dehydrating the biggest most plumpest of grapes, tedious but worth it.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Louise,

      Yes, it is a bit of a tedious job but I agree – it’s well worth it! I had a few extra almonds that I threw on the dehydrator try and dipped them alone, as well as some dried cherries from a week ago… it was all heavenly! But then, you can dip a flip-flop in chocolate and I am sure it would taste good. lol

      Have a wonderful day Louise! amie sue

  4. Wow! absolutely amazing and outstanding of how raw sweets are not possible to make but very good looking. 100% design,1000% taste and 0% sorrows.
    With my best regards.
    Ciao from Rome.

  5. Julie says:

    These look great. Can the cherries be dipped fresh without dehydrating them first? Thanks!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Julie,
      You could use fresh but keep in mind that they won’t last long at all. I would make them the day you want to eat them personally. If you try it, after washing the cherries make sure they are really dry on the outside because any drops of water can seize up your chocolate when you go to dip them. Chocolate is funny that way. Now that I read your question one more time, I want to clarify…. are you asking if you can stuff the cherry, dip it THEN dehydrate it? If so, I wouldn’t think so because the chocolate wouldn’t set in the heat. I hope I answered your question. Have a happy day, amie sue

  6. Alta says:

    Lord ‘a’ Mercy, Amie Sue!!!! These look absolutely decadent! I’d be eating the whole batch, since I just LOVE Rainier cherries!

    • amie-sue says:

      I understand Alta, hehe I am like that with Kale chips… a person almost has to make multiple batches to make up for the “taste testing” ones. lol I hope you try it! Many blessings on this mighty fine day…amie sue

  7. Carolyn says:

    These sound wonderful! But how in the world do you remove cherry pits w/o destroying the cherry?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello CArolyn,

      I have used two different cherry pitters…and neigther one demolish the cherries. THey may not be really pretty after pitted but they held together enough to handle being stuffed with an almond. :) Not sure what else to tell ya. :)

  8. Lisa Evers says:

    You are simply amazing, my mentor… I love how you do everything… from your website, photos, the way you explain to details.. and your end results are just stunning and so delicious. Thank you for sharing all that you do. I always look forward to the next Raw item you are creating.
    Many blessings to you.
    What is the name of the photo shop you use to make your labels?
    Have a pleasant afternoon.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Lisa,

      Thank you so much. I appreciate your kind and warming words. It really encourages me. :)

      I use PhotoShop 2 on my MAC. I tend to “fudge” the system to make the things I do and design my graphics, but they offer a great plug and play program.

      Many blessings and thank you once again. amie sue

  9. Kim says:

    These look beautiful! Regarding raw cacao, I get my powder and nibs (Navitas Naturals brand) from Amazon. I love ! I also get chia, hemp, agave, coconut sugar, hemp protein powder and many other goodies from Amazon.

    Here are links to the raw cacao I get:



    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Kim,

      Yes, those are great products to use. I have them on my store page as well. I try to buy local but there are times Amazon becomes a life savor. :) Have a great day Kim!

  10. Pernilla says:

    Hi ami-sue, i love your website, you are so talented :-) i wonder, did you make the white chocolate yourself in this recipe or did you buy it somewhere ? I have tried to make good raw white chocolate for some time now but not been very successful. Do you by any chance have a recipe to share ? /Pernilla

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Pernilla,

      I used organic, gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips from the health food store. I too have been tinkering with recipes to get as close to white as possible, but it still comes out a bit tan. I will surely keep you posted if I ever nail it. hehe

  11. I am really impressed with your writing abilities as neatly as with
    the layout to your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a great weblog like this one nowadays..

    • amie-sue says:

      Paid topic? Are you referring the theme? If so, I modified a theme to get the look that you see. Have a great day, amie sue

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