Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies - November 10, 2009

In case you're blinking and wondering if your eyes are deceiving you with the picture, they're not. No, cherries didn't suddenly turn into M&Ms. The recipe calls for dried sour cherries and has "cherry"in its name but that wasn't enough to prevent me from substituting plain M&Ms instead. I don't like fruit in my cookies and when I make a dark chocolate cookie, plain M&Ms make a nice contrast to the chocolate dough. The candy coating is crisp and the milk chocolate provides some sweet against the dark chocolate.

This is another recipe from the Sweet Melissa Baking Book and I made the dough last weekend and froze the cookie dough balls to bake off tonight for a work meeting tomorrow. Although the recipe calls for a lot of chilling and shaping of the dough, when I made it, the dough turned out firm enough that all I had to do was use an ice cream scoop to form the dough balls then put them in a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. When I baked them, they didn't spread too much and they had a good, dark chocolate taste. Choose your cocoa carefully when you make this recipe since the cocoa is essentially the only source for the rich chocolate flavor. I like to use Pernigotti cocoa from Williams Sonoma for a recipe like this. The grocery store/Hershey's brand just doesn't have enough richness or depth in the chocolate for this type of cookie.

Oh and if you are a fan of cherries, I'm sure you'd enjoy this recipe as is without the M&M substitution - it's all a matter of taste and preference.

1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup best-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried sour cherries

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg, mixing well. Stir in the vanilla.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing just until incorporated after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and cherries. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. Refrigerate the dough for a few hours until firm.
5. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half. Roll out into 2 uniform logs about 12 inches long. Refrigerate until firm enough to slide, about 1 hour. (At this point, you can wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze for up to 1 month.)
6. Position a rack in the top and bottom thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
7. Cut the logs into 1-inch slices and place 1 ½ inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until the dough looks just baked. These cookies should be tender so do not overbake.

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