The Cookie Jar: Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

This weekend I was working on my Christmas cookie boxes and, of course, I wanted to go with a myriad of things that I hadn’t ever tried before. For some reason, this year I am into fruit cookies. I don’t know why.

Sometimes cookies can be a very daunting task, especially if you take into consideration that many cookies are fussy and can require rolling, cutting, piping, shaping and decorating. My cookie boxes generally encompass a variety of cookies, so I try to keep my involved cookies down to a minimum. Everyone loves a good drop cookie, and they come in a myriad of flavors and delicious components to keep them exciting. Sure, I love the basic chocolate chip cookie. It’s a flavorful cookie dough, soft on the inside, crisp on the outside and riddled with delicious morsels of chocolate. However, I like my cookies just like I like my pizza: with a ton of stuff. I’m not a simple cheese and pepperoni person, and my cookies tend to be the same way.

Drop cookies are a great way to go when you want to add something homespun and casual to a cookie box. They’re delicious, pretty, and efficient. They also travel very well. For these types of cookies, I have a bunch of basic books that fill the need. One of them is the Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies.

Four-hundred and seventy five never fail basic cookie recipes – seldom can you go wrong. Just look over the ingredient lists and figure out what you’ll eat and what you won’t. That’s when I flipped over the Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies – then I did a double-take, and came right back and made them.

It’s an elegant twist on your basic chocolate chip cookie. Add dried cherries and chopped walnuts to your chocolate cookie, and you’ve got a pretty magnificent take on a drop cookie. In the past I’ve mentioned that I’m not a huge cherry fan, but I really love them with the nuts and the chocolate of this incarnation.

Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups dried tart cherries
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup white chocolate

A drop cookie is NOT difficult. The ingredients get combined, you drop them on a cookie sheet, and then you bake them. That’s pretty much it.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Stir in cherries, walnuts, chocolate pieces and white baking pieces (dough will be stiff).

At the chocolate part, I just threw whatever I had in there. I didn’t have any semisweet pieces, so I tossed in whatever I had to come up with to equal 1 1/2 (brown) chocolate. I did have white baking pieces (chocolate) so that was fine. I would definitely make sure you put in some white baking pieces because the presentation is just that much more exciting to see the different chocolates together with the nuts and cherries.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree F oven for 14 – 16 minutes or until golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

The end result is something completely fun and I love the surprise of the tart and chewy cherry that mixes with the chocolate (I love cherry cordials, too, hence why this appealed to me). Another surprise was the walnuts – I didn’t think I’d be too thrilled about the nuts in there. For some reason I usually omit nuts, and I’m sure it’s because I have this idea that a lot of people dislike them. Whether or not that’s valid, I really thought the nut added to the overall texture, giving the cookie one more surprising component to bite into.

Make sure you store these in an airtight container – I put mine in one of my old Tupperware cookie containers and the lid popped off. Now these things are like miserable little rocks and completely inedible…

The good news is I get to make more. 🙂

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