Saturday, December 3, 2011

Two Weeks of Christmas Treats, Day 3: Buried Cherry Cookies

I made (and posted about) these buried cherry cookies in the early days of my blog, and I’ve made them at least twice a year ever since – usually for Valentine’s Day and again at Christmas. Everyone absolutely loves these sweet little cookies.

Although I’m not a fan of chocolate-covered cherries (it’s the creamy white stuff in them that I don’t like), I adore these cookies too. First of all, they’re adorable. Secondly, it’s such a fun surprise to bite into a cookie and find a cherry hiding under the chocolate frosting. These come together really easily, and the recipe makes more than 40 cookies, so again, these are perfect for cookie exchanges and gift-giving.

The frosting does actually cook in the oven along with the cookies, which may sound a little strange. It hardens just slightly and adds an interesting texture to the cookies, and baking the frosting enables it to hide the cherry perfectly without sliding off. I think you’ll love these fun, cute little cookies!

Buried Cherry Cookies
from Better Homes and Gardens

1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries (42 to 48)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain cherries, reserving juice. Halve any large cherries. In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in cocoa powder and as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball. Place a cherry in each center.

3. For frosting, in a small saucepan combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate melts. Stir in 4 teaspoons reserved cherry juice. (If necessary, frosting may be thinned with additional cherry juice.) Spoon 1 teaspoon frosting over each cherry, spreading to cover.

4. Bake about 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 42 to 48 cookies.