Strange how when you're supposed to make cookies, you're suddenly gripped with the inability to churn any out. At least that's what happened to me. Or maybe it's that Kip's been working and that my kids have been going berserk (Emma has entered the dread 'let's see what will flush down the toilet' stage) and that my house is a big fat ugly mess. At any rate, I've been unable to conjure up the strength to make any cookies at all.
And then today--Kip's first day off since his family has left town, I was suddenly gripped with enough energy (not to clean my house mind you), but to make the fussiest Christmas cookie in my repertoire. Oh, it's not that fussy, don't worry. I'm not that kind of a Christmas baker. You won't find pictures of ornaments baked into my ruffly frosted cakes (though wouldn't it be awesome if you did). But it does have a cookie, a topping, and then something--traditionally a maraschino cherry--hiding there between the two. Fortunately for you (and for my messy house) all three elements of this cookie are easy to do, so the whole project can be done, even with two little "helper" bakers hanging around trying to steal the toppings and beaters.
And now for a word from our sponsor: These are usually made with maraschino cherries (thus the name of the cookie). I HATE maraschino cherries and always have. Ever since I was a girl and my mother made these cookies for us, I've picked them out. Let me say a couple things about this: 1. You can totally pick the cherries out. In some ways, I even prefer to do so because you lose the grody cherry, but you maintain a sugary, soft sweet middle. 2. You can sub the cherries for something else and we often do. You can use nuts (I did walnuts today) or Hershey's kisses (I did 3 chocolate chips per cookie today) or Reese's cups (cut into smaller bits) or Andes Mints (one of my favorites) or toffee bits instead of the cherries.
Note: If you want to save some or all to give away, they're totally freeze-able.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
makes 30 cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cost: $2.63 for 30 cookies
butter: .30, sugar: .18, egg: .10, flour: .15, chocolate chips: .90, sweetened condensed milk: .50, cherries: .50)
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, soft
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C cocoa
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
maraschino cherries or other filling such as chocolate, Andes mints, nuts, toffee, dried fruit, or whatever your imagination conjures
1 C chocolate chips
1/2 C sweetened condensed milk (Uh-oh, you're going to have the rest of the can to use still. That's always bad news so I'm sorry about that. You'll have to pour it over your cereal for breakfast. Note: I say that in jest; it's a totally bad idea, as is eating the rest of the contents of your can with a spoon. I'm not saying you can't, only that such a choice might be regretted. And as far as I know there's no morning after pill, over-the-counter or otherwise, for such behavior. P.S. Let me know if there is.)
1 Tbsp cherry "juice" to loosen it up (if you're not using cherries, you can add milk)
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat.
Mix in dry ingredients and beat (I always have to mix then beat because my hand-mixer sprays powdered ingredients everywhere if I'm not careful.) You'll get a very firm batter. Like this.
Now take your firm batter and roll it into 1-inch balls. I got about 30, which I managed to cram all onto one jelly roll sheet.
Now take your thumb and give these a good smash in the middle. You want a nice indentation for your cherry.
Now add the fillings of your choice.
Aren't they pretty?
Now throw your topping ingredients into the microwave for 30 seconds. Mix. And nuke for a few more seconds or until smooth.
Plop 1-2 tsp worth of the chocolate mixture onto the cherry or other topping. Try to get it all covered. Like so.
Bake for 9-10 minutes at 350 degrees. The edges will poof and spread a bit, so don't put the cookies any closer together than these.
And you're done. If you take them to a party, make sure the nut ones are labeled for anyone with an allergy.
Linked to Sweets for a Saturday and Fusion Fridays and Crumbs and Chaos and Secret Recipe Club.