Black Forest Fudge

6 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with foil.

Place first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Mix sugar, condensed milk, cherry preserves, whipping cream, 1/3 cup water and butter in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals. Add dried cherries. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil until thermometer registers 230F, stirring constantly but slowly, about 17 min.

Immediately pour hot syrup over chocolate mixture in bowl (do not scrape pan). Using wooden spoon, stir vigorously until chocolate melts and fudge thickens slightly but still remains glossy, about 3 min. Transfer fudge to prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Chill until firm, about 3 hours. Lift fudge from pan using foil as aid. Fold down foil. Trim edges of fudge. Cut fudge into 24 pieces. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Optional: Add black walnuts (about 1/2 cup broken).