Queen Anne Cherry Cordial Ice Cream

My dad was absolutely in love with cherry cordials, those red boxes of chocolates with the liquid cherry filling that you see in supermarkets in the “Seasonal” aisle during Christmastime. When I was stumped for gift ideas (and strapped for cash, on my two-dollar-per week-allowance), a sure-fire Dad-pleaser of a Christmas present was two boxes of cordial cherries, wrapped together, and put under the tree. Of course, the next several weeks would be a cat-and-mouse game of my stealing the cordial cherries I had just given my dad, while he metered them out slowly to himself, savoring them at the rate of one per day.

In a fit of nostalgia, I bought a box of “Queen Anne” cordial cherries on sale. As an adult, with unlimited access to the candy, I’ve realized that they’re pretty gross: Super sugary, throat-closingly sweet milk chocolate, white in spots from sitting on the shelf too long, with a liquid center that often, due to either season or age, has become solid and granulated, surrounding a shriveled maraschino cherry. A box of cordial cherries ranks up there with bath beads or the Whitman’s Sampler in terms of thoughtless gift-giving; a present you give when you care enough to give the best go to Rite Aid and get them on sale. With nearly the whole box remaining, though, I thought I would try making ice cream with them.

The result is a sweet ice cream using a vanilla base, somewhat reminiscent of Ben and Jerry’s “Cherry Garcia,” the best-tasting and most-unfortunately-named ice cream in the Ben and Jerry’s lineup. I’ve reduced the sugar and vanilla in the base recipe somewhat, since grinding up these cherries adds a lot more flavor and sweetness to the ice cream than you might expect. It makes sense when you realize how much additional liquefied sugar you are adding, in the form of the candy cherry filling.

Queen Anne Cherry Cordial Ice Cream
Makes about seven 1/2 cup servings


  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 box Queen Anne cherry cordials (10 pieces)


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix milk and sugar on low until sugar dissolves, 1-2 minutes. Add heavy cream and vanilla, and stir 30 seconds more. Pour into ice cream freezer, and let mix until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, add cherry cordial candies to food processor and quickly pulse, until candy chunks and cherries are about the size of chocolate chips.
  3. After ice cream thickens, add chopped candy and filling to ice cream and let mix until evenly combined, about five minutes more. Ice cream will have the consistency of a very creamy soft serve.
  4. Transfer soft ice cream to a plastic container and freeze until fully set, about 30 minutes more.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road." He currently owns and operates the Ancho Honey restaurant in Maine.


  1. I shutter at the thought of those chocolates–which I thought were very ‘adult’ as a teenager until my next door neighbor made his own version which were eons better. Brilliant to use them in an ice cream (though, the funny thing about Ben and Jerry’s version with that ‘unfortunate’ name–Jerry Garcia, being a diabetic, could never eat the ice cream named for him).

    1. Thanks for the comment, S…I couldn’t believe how blind I was to how much sweetness these candies added to the finished ice cream. I had to back way off on the additional sugar called for in my regular ice cream base recipe, because as it turns out, Queen Anne Cherry Cordials are nothing more than little sugar grenades.

        1. Pardon me, but I LIKE Queen Anne Cordial Cherries. In fact, I’ve just been eating some. (Yes, a Christmas present.) As has always been the case in my experience, the chocolate (dark) is fresh, the liquid center smooth, and the cherry juicy and bursting with maraschino tastiness. I’ll grant you, however, they are very sweet. To answer S.’s question, each 19-gram candy contains 12.5 grams of sugar.

  2. I adored chocolate-covered cherries when I was a child! But even then, the idea was better than the eating. I can practically feel my teeth shivering in sugar-panic.

    But! This spring, a friend brought me some chocolates from Old Port Candy that included a luscious, well-balanced chocolate-covered cherry. It was something of a nostalgic revelation to me. Finally, here is the delight I was seeking from those drugstore candies all those years ago: dark aromatic chocolate, the filling sweet but not cloying, with a lush, plump, fruity cherry at its heart. Highly recommended.

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