Cheerwine is known throughout the Carolinas and is expanding internationally. A North Carolina staple since 1917, young and old love it for it’s delightfully different cherry flavored taste. It has a bit more carbonation than other soft drinks and is best served the way it’s always been packaged – in a cold glass bottle.
Beyond its appeal as a refreshing soft drink, Cheerwine is right at home in the world of cooking as well. Through a variety of Cheerwine cakes, ice cream, sherbets, and even barbecue sauce, you can find plenty of ways to incorporate the soda into a recipe. Cola cakes have been around for sometime, but Cheerwine may be the only one that is mass-produced both in pound cake form and in doughnut form. Back in 2010, Cheerwine partnered with Krispy Kreme – another North Carolina company – and produced a Cheerwine-flavored doughnut.
In honor of Jimmy Tomlin’s essay on Cheerwine in the August 2013 issue, we propose adding another dish into the Cheerwine-as-ingredient canon: Cheerwine Cherry Cobbler. Using fresh cherries and cooking them in Cheerwine cola to concentrate the sweetness and flavor, we top the mixture with a crunchy crust and bake it in the oven. You’ll love it even more with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe for years to come.
Ready to give it a try? Let’s get cooking!
What you’ll need
- 1 to 2 pounds fresh cherries, pits and stems removed
- 2 (12 ounce) Cheerwine sodas – regular, not diet
- ½ teaspoon cocoa
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted
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Cheerwine Cherry Cobbler: You’ll need these ingredients.
Wash the cherries under cold running water. I’m using one pound of fresh cherries for this recipe, but you could just as easily add another pound of cherries without having to increase any of the other ingredients. I’m making this batch with a thick topping, so there is certainly enough topping to add more cherries if desired.
Remove the stems from the cherries. Yes, you have to do this one at a time.
Next, remove the pit. If you don’t have a dedicated tool to remove the pit, a knife will work. This has to be done one at a time as well. Watch the juice. It can easily stain your towels or counter top.
Put the cherries in a medium sized saucepot and place over medium heat on the stove.
Pour in the two bottles of Cheerwine. It fizzes a lot because of the carbonation. We’re using two bottles because we want to fully cook the cherries in the cola and let the cola reduce down. It’s not going to completely thicken up as it cooks, but you need to let it cook until you have just a little more than a cup of liquid in the cherries. As the cola cooks down, the flavors and the sugar of the Cheerwine will intensify. Please note that the recipe will not work as well with diet Cheerwine. Spring for the regular stuff.
Add the cocoa. We all know that chocolate and cherries just go good together. This will give just a hint of chocolate flavor without overpowering the Cheerwine taste. Give it a good stir.
The cherries and Cheerwine need to reach a low boil and continue at this low boil for about 30 to 45 minutes. You don’t have to stand over the pot, but be sure to stir it about every 10 minutes to keep it from sticking and burning in the pot. As mentioned, cook this down until you have just over a cup of liquid left in the cherries. This will give us plenty of time to work on the topping.
I’m using a 2-quart casserole dish to make my Cheerwine cobbler. This size should prevent the cobbler from boiling over while baking and making a mess inside the oven.
Begin making the cobbler by placing one level cup of self-rising flour in a sifter.
Add the cornstarch.
Sift the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. If you don’t have a sifter, you can place the flour and cornstarch in a bowl and use a whisk to fluff it a bit.
After sifting, add the brown sugar.
Add the granulated sugar.
Whisk the dry ingredients together well. Then use your hand to make a small well in the center of the flour.
Add one whole egg into the well you created in the flour.
Use a fork to slightly beat the egg. Stir the egg into the flour a little at a time until you’ve incorporated it all together.
You’ll end up with crumbly dough like you see here. Place some flour on your hands, and use your fingers to break up any large lumps of dough.
When the Cheerwine has reduced down to about one cup of liquid on the stove, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add in the almond extract and give it a good stir.
Pour the cherries and Cheerwine mixture into your buttered baking dish.
With your hands, drop the portions of the topping all around the top of the cherry mixture.
Melt the butter in a microwave about 10 seconds at a time. It doesn’t take long to melt butter in a microwave. It gets hot quick so be careful with it. Drizzle the butter all over the topping. Place the dish in your pre-heated oven.
You’re just baking the cobbler to get the topping part done. You can test that by inserting a toothpick into the thicker dough sections. If it pulls out clean, other than juice, then the cobbler should be fully baked. Remove it from the oven and place on a towel or wire rack to cool. I like to add some sugar sprinkles to the top just after taking it out of the oven.
Let the cobbler cool for about 10 minutes prior to serving. This stuff gets very hot while baking.
Serve a generous portion of your warm Cheerwine cherry cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Steve Gordon is a writer, recipe tester, and lover of all things Southern. You can read more of his writing and step-by-step recipes at tasteofsouthern.com.