In a perfect world, I would have posted my second "thank-you cookie" recipe yesterday, as promised. I happen to live in a world, however, where that vicious 24-hour bug likes to sneak up on you not once, but twice a year, apparently on the day after you return from a vacation. The same thing happened to me in February, after our 4-day SuperBowl road-trip (I blamed that one on our meal at a questionable looking chain restaurant, where we begrudgingly stopped on the way home.) The good new is that, after a horrible night with no sleep and a day spent on the couch with no appetite (but 12+ hours of Food Network and HGTV!), I’ve lost all of the weight that I likely gained eating my way through wine country! The bad news is, I feel miles behind with regards to all of the items that I ambitiously added to my "to-do" list during the flight back to Las Vegas.
With a goal of fitting 2 days’ worth of to-dos into 24 hours, I decided to make one of my tried and true cookie recipes for the second variety, which will eventually be packaged up and sent off to the various folks who helped to make our trip so memorable. I love a recipe that I have made enough times that I don’t second guess my procedure or need to refer to written instructions. The method for these cookies follows your basic drop cookie order: mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, put ’em together, and add any "extras" such as chocolate chips or nuts. The oven is at 350, you bake for 9-11 minutes, all pretty standard stuff. Choco-holics love these for their deep double-punch of rich cocoa and bittersweet chocolate chunks. The tart sour cherries cut nicely into the chocolate, adding a bright contrast in flavor and texture. Package these up to send as gifts year-round, or keep them in the cookie jar to serve with an extra-cold glass of milk. Here are my extra tips for these cherry-flecked chocolate delights:
- For the bittersweet chocolate, I recommend the large "Pound-Plus" bars sold at Trader Joe’s, a bargain at around $3.75. You can also substitute bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips. Ghirardelli makes a good brand of bittersweet chips, which can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores.
- I prefer to coarsely chop the cherries, in order to spread their flavor throughout the batter a bit more, but you can keep them whole, if preferred. The cherries can also be replaced by dried cranberries, which are more cost effective but pair equally well with chocolate.
- Once prepared, the batter can be frozen for up to one month before baking. If I plan to freeze the batter, I like to portion out the dough first and then freeze it, so that it is ready to pop into the oven. Thaw the dough prior to baking.
- Once baked, the cookies can be stored at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for 3-4 days. The cookies can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 weeks.
- If I am preparing these during the holidays, I often add a bit of spice to the dough, such as a small amount of ground cloves, ginger, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until thoroughly incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate and cherries.
Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies until they are puffed and slightly cracked on top, 9-11 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.