It shouldn’t even be up for debate: Cherry Garcia has to be the BEST Ben & Jerry’s flavor there is. Period. Hands down. No exceptions. Well, maybe the Chocolate Cherry Garcia.
While everyone’s busy raving about Chunky Monkey or Half-baked –both being worthy contenders, however –everyone seems to be sleeping on the flavor that practically put Ben & Jerry’s on the map. Which is fine, that just means there are people out there who have yet to have their mind blown!
But here’s the thing about Cherry Garcia: I’ve been able to replicate pretty much every other Ben & Jerry’s flavor at home, but I’ve yet to attempt it on my favorite flavor. I guess it’s a personal thing: I didn’t want to mess with perfection, after all!
This all changed one night when my kids finally had a taste of Cherry Garcia for the first time, and as a proud parent who didn’t want to be doing CVS runs every so often during a pandemic, I decided to make a homebrew version of the iconic flavor.
Why Cherry Garcia is the Best
Cherry Garcia doesn’t get the love it deserves because there are people out there who equate cherry flavor with cough syrup. Understandable, but the thing is Ben & Jerry’s tried and succeeded in creating a cherry flavor that is much nearer the fruit than the syrup, meaning it’s got this beautiful sweet tang that pairs perfectly with dark chocolate flakes.
As a proud Gen X-er, I’m also partial to Cherry Garcia because it was named after legendary guitarist and overall chill guy Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead fame. If you haven’t heard of them, well, two things: first, you’re missing out, and two, you’re probably way too young anyway.
But it’s not just me who loves it: Cherry Garcia became Ben & Jerry’s best-selling flavor for over a decade before the release of Half-Baked. And to think, Ben & Jerry’s didn’t actually come up with the flavor themselves: it was a fan submission that they loved and turned into reality!
Of course, making your own version of the iconic flavor is a great way to teach your kids about sustainability, but it’s also a great way to get them involved in the cooking process and show them what actually goes into your food.
While making a flavor for my favorite ice cream brand would be a dream, for now, let me share with you my take on a Cherry Garcia dessert!
Our Take on a Cherry Garcia Dessert
Fudgy, marshmallow-y, chocolate-y, and of course, packed with cherry flavor, this is my all-time favorite dessert creation inspired by the legendary Cherry Garcia ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s:
Yield: 9×9 Pan (servings depend how much self-control you have)
- 12 oz bag white chocolate chips
- 7 oz jar Kraft marshmallow creme
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons cherry jello (see note)
- 24 maraschino cherries – drained from juice
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1/4 cup for drizzle
You could easily make your own cherry jello using a bunch of cherries and a nutribullet. Simply blitz up a few handfuls of pitted cherries into your nutribullet, pour the whole thing into a saucepan with a pinch of sweetener (I like to use agave), and then simmer until thick. Add a packet of gelatin if you want it to set a little more.
- Take a 9×9 baking pan and line it with some parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, take your white chocolate chips and marshmallow crème and stir until completely mixed. Set aside in the refrigerator.
- In a medium saucepan, add your cream, butter, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Once it reaches a boil, bring the heat to low and stir in your cherry jello. Mix until incorporated then bring to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes until the jello and the caramel are completely emulsified. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- While the jello/caramel mixture is still warm, mix it into your white chocolate chips and marshmallow crème, making sure to whisk vigorously until the chocolate chips are completely melted.
- Pour the mixture into your parchment-lined baking pan. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.
- Once set, remove from the pan and cut into 24 even squares. Set aside on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In a separate container, melt ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips until smooth and completely gooey. Take each cherry fudge piece and dip the bottom part into the chocolate. Place back onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- In a separate container, melt another ¼ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips until smooth and creamy. Drizzle on top of your cherry fudge squares.
- Put the squares back into the refrigerator to set.
- Forget about your diet and just enjoy these bad boys!
Is Cherry Garcia Healthy?
Is this healthy? It can be. You can make your own healthy Cherry Garcia by using frozen cherries, which are rich in antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. You see those purple and blue pigments in cherries? They’re called anthocyanins, an enzyme that helps reduce pain and inflammation.
You can also cut off the heavy cream and replace it with Greek yogurt, plus shavings of dark chocolate that go well with the cherries. Now that’s a healthier version of your Cherry Garcia ice cream. But will your kids like it? Probably not.
This homemade Cherry Garcia recipe is one of those special treats that can bring joy to everyone’s faces. These small pleasures can take away anxieties and help you take care of yourself during a pandemic. It’s an easy, enjoyable treat for the whole family. And hey, it beats making a grocery run.
Try this homemade Cherry Garcia fudge ice cream recipe today. It can be the best dessert you’ll ever have.