Week 2 of the Christmas Cookies Exchange Countdown: Chocolate and Cherry Cookies
Week 2 of the Christmas Cookie Exchange Challenge…
Milk Chocolate and Cherry Cookies
I’m just going to have to come right out and say it…These cookies are FABULOUS! I thought I could hold off for a little bit, build the suspense, leave you all wondering if Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies was able to win back my heart – but I couldn’t. (My mother would probably tell you it has something to do with my lack of patience) Anyway, these are good. Easy to make and in fact I pre-made the dough the night before and refrigerated it. I have a few small adjustments that I would make to my process should they win the right to be my cookie of choice at the Christmas Cookie Exchange, but I will let you all know those as we go along. Here is what you need to get started:
2 cups frozen pitted dark cherries (about 42)
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk chocolate pieces
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
4 teaspoons cherry liqueur
Thaw cherries; pat dry with paper towels and set aside. Since I knew that I was making these cookies the next morning I thawed mine overnight in the refrigerator. Very easy and you don’t even have to think about them.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt beating until combined.
Next beat in the eggs and vanilla until just combined. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl making sure all your ingredients are mixed properly.
Finally beat in the cocoa powder and as much flour as you can with the mixer. Now when I read that I thought to myself, “yeah yeah whatever I have a Kitchen Aid that thing can handle ANYTHING. “ Well, I was wrong. Once again my hubris came out to bite me in the behind. I got 2/3 of the flour in and my Kitchen Aid was huffing and puffing.
This is a picture of the dough that came out with my attachment, that stuff is thick.
So to get the remaining flour into the dough use a wooden spoon and some bicep muscle. It is sort of like trying to stir partially set concrete . Eventually though it becomes incorporated and you are surprised you had so much stamina!
Ok, time to get your hands dirty (but first make sure you wash them – stirring in that flour could have worked up quite a sweat!) Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, placing them about 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Press your thumb into the center of each ball and place a cherry in each indentation.
Now for the frosting: Cook and stir the chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat. (I have to admit this step made me nervous because usually I melt my chocolate in a double boiler – but I was a good girl and did what they told me to and everything turned out fine.)
Once the chocolate is melted stir in the cherry liqueur (I used Maraska Maraschino Liqueur) until the whole mixture is smooth.
Spoon a bit of the frosting over each cherry and try to work quickly. The frosting sets up fast and it is harder to spoon out. I kept mine over very low heat and it worked well, you just have to be sure you don’t burn the chocolate on the bottom of the pan.
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until the edges are firm. Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
According to Better Homes and Gardens store the cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
If you have an eagle eye or you watch too many British murder mystery shows like me you may have noticed that my measurements in the pictures were different than those I listed. Well, that is because I told my Husband what cookie I was making and he said: “Mamma Mia!, I need at least a dozen of those for myself.” So I made a double batch. What does this mean for you, you ask? I will have even more available at the market tomorrow. Because really – my Husband and I couldn’t (or maybe it is shouldn’t!) eat all these ourselves.
So stop by and say hello tomorrow morning, grab a cup of coffee from our very own double decker coffee bus and enjoy some very rich, very delicious Milk Chocolate and Cherry Christmas Cookies!
Next week I’m going someplace else for inspiration, my all time favorite Ina Garten. I have never made a recipe from her that has gone bad – we’ll see if she can keep her magic touch with Mini Linzer Cookies!
Only 74 more days till Christmas!!