Thursday, May 5, 2011

Good Deed Day: Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Personal Photo
I'm sorry- was that mean to do to you this morning? Are you going to crave chocolate all day now? If so, you should definitely go straight home from work and bake these cookies!

Today's Good Deed idea was made with love for my dad. About 2 months ago my parents put their home in Ohio for sale, packed up, and move to central PA to be near me. How lucky am I?? (This might come as a surprise, but my husband is as happy to have my parents near as I am. Reason #234 why I love my husband: he loves my parents.) My mom got a new job here right away, working for the same employer as I do.  My dad, who was burnt out from his career to say the least, took a few weeks to figure out what he wanted to do for a living in this new stage of life. Yesterday my dad started his new job and I wanted to do something special for him to celebrate.

When I first saw this recipe for Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies on The Homesteading Housewife I knew they were perfect for my dad. He loves cookies and love, love, loves chocolate covered cherries. Now, I'm a fan of Betty Crocker bagged cookie mix. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I made a cookie that didn't start in bag form but these chocolate cookies were, dare I say, just as easy! I couldn't believe it! They do require that you dirty a few more dishes than a cookie mix but my goodness are they worth it!

I suggest you go check out how Dana's cookies turned out @ The Homesteading Housewife. They are most definitely prettier than mine. Fortunately, we are equal opportunity cookie eaters in our household. We do not discriminate against the ugly cookies!

Before I give you the recipe I should present the lesson in today's Good Deed Day: Don't ever pass up an opportunity to tell your parents how proud you are of them. I know it seems silly/assumed and that parents are the ones who are always telling their children how proud they are but trust me, when you have as awesome parents as I do, you should most definitely find a way to show them just how special they are!

Here is the recipe, with a few tips for my own thrown in for ya:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I never remember to set my butter out early enough & end up over melting it in the microwave. Perhaps the best bakers could tell a difference, but my palette likes over-melted-butter-cookies just fine!)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained, reserve juice (I would suggest getting a larger jar of cherries. I put my finger in one of the photos above to give you a scale reference. I made my cookies too big and therefore didn't get as many out of the recipe as it says, but yet I didn't have many cherries leftover.)
  • 1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, blending well; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter or margarine and sugar on low speed until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; beat until smooth and well blended.

With hands, shape dough into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheet. I always use a cookie scoop when baking almost anything. It will allow you to portion out just right and get consistently sized cookies. (I also didn't want to get my hands too dirty.) However, I would suggest you use a small cookie scoop rather than the ice cream scoop I apparently pulled out of the utensil drawer. FYI- The cookie scoop will make they a little rough around the edges so if appearance matters to you go ahead and roll 'em.

Press down center of dough with thumb.

Drain Maraschino cherries well, reserving juice. Place a cherry in the center indention of each cookie.

In small saucepan combine chocolate pieces and sweetened condensed milk; heat over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the reserved cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the topping over each cherry, spreading to cover cherry. When I put the frosting on it didn't exactly cover the cherry but I thought it would certainly melt and spread out in the oven. Well... it doesn't. This recipe apparently uses magic chocolate that doesn't melt. So, be advised, how you spoon the chocolate on in this step will be how the cookie looks when baked.

*If frosting seems too thick, thin with a little more cherry juice. I don't always measure exactly when baking, especially if it means dirtying another dish/spoon so I can't tell you exactly how much cherry juice I used but it was definitely more than the recipe called for and I think it still could have used more. So, if you make them and end up needing a lot more juice than listed don't worry- you can't have too much cherry juice!

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until done.
Remove to wire rack to cool.
Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

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