When it comes to chocolate covered cherries cordial candies (say that three times fast!), it seems you’re either a fan or you’re not. Well, I am and if you are too, you are going to LOVE these little cookies! I first discovered them a couple of summers ago on vacation after reading Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, the first in a mystery series by Joann Fluke about bakery owner and accidental sleuth, Hannah Swensen. You see, Hannah is the owner of The Cookie Jar bakery in the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Eden. I love mysteries and especially cozies like these that also include a food theme! What’s really neat about Fluke’s books is that she includes recipes too. She’s written so many books in the series that last year, she released a whole cookbook with all the recipes from her books and even included some never-before-published recipes! If you love food related mysteries like I do, I encourage you to check out this fun series. And be sure to check out the Lake Eden Cookbook too!
It wasn’t a month later that I tried these yummy little treats and now I’m excited to share them with you. And don’t worry, they’re not nearly as drippy with that gooey filling as the candies but the flavor still delivers. They’re soft and chewy with a hint of the cherries. This recipe is relatively simple and the freeze well when packed in an air-tight container with wax paper in between layers. That is if they last that long—I dare you to eat just one!
- 1 cup melted butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened, for baking)
- 3 cups flour
- 2 small, 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Melt the butter and mix in the sugar. Set aside to cool.
- After the mixture has cooled to a temperature that won’t cook the eggs, stir in the eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and cocoa, stirring after each addition. Add the flour and mix well. The dough will be stiff and a bit crumbly.
- Drain the cherries and reserve the juice (you will need some of the juice later).
- Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 per sheet. I like to use a scoop for this so they’re all evenly sized. Press down in the center of each ball to make a deep indentation. Place one cherry in each indentation.
- Combine the chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat them on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir. If the chips are not melted, process on HIGH in 10minute increments until they can be stirred smooth. Add about 2 tablespoons of the reserved cherry juice to the melted chocolate mixture until the frosting is thick and will glob off a spoon. If it won’t glob off, keep adding juice until it is the right consistency.
- Spoon a small bit of the frosting over the center of each cookie – just enough to cover the cherry. It shouldn’t drip down the sides.
- Bake at 350°F in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Hannah Swensen’s NOTES: If you don’t like cherries, you can substitute well-drained pineapple tidbits, using the juice for the frosting. You can also use pecan halves or macadamina nuts and thin the frosting with cold coffee or water. If you don’t have anything to go on top, just use the frosting because that’s good too!
Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop… you’ll have no excuse of “I don’t know what to make!” And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us! It’s never too late if you’re willing to bake!