When I came upon this recipe on the Hershey's web site I knew I had to try it. Seriously, I love cherries; anything cherry flavored will get my attention. And I love chocolate. Really, do I have to even say that? The love of chocolate should always be assumed. I say you should only have to mention if you don't like chocolate. Afterall, you're the minority. OK, I'm off track and a little ahead of myself. . .
Again this year, I was invited to my dear friend Maria's Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange Party. It just doesn't seem like Christmas if she doesn't have this party. And as I've been attending this party for going on 10 years now, I've pretty much run through all my holiday cookie "stand bys". I've tried new recipes, good and bad, had a few repeaters in the mix and run through my recipe file. So, again, to the web I went. (I kind of feel like a cheesy super hero sidekick when I say that. "To The Web, Away!") Any who, I googled "Christmas Cookie Recipes" and ended up on the Hershey's recipe web site. A bunch of tasty looking cookie recipes were there. I wanted a recipe easy enough that people would try making it but I also wanted something visually impressive. After all, I've been a food blogger for almost a year now and I have my reputation to think about. HA! HA! A drop cookie just wouldn't do. No disrespect to the drop cookie, they can be awesome, I just wanted a little visual pizazz. This recipe was it. I took a chance and here's what happened. . .
The players: butter, sugar, an egg, vanilla, AP flour, baking powder, salt, maraschino cherries, almond extract, cocoa and baking soda.
Start by draining and finely chopping the maraschino cherries. Measure 1/4 cup and set aside. I used approximately 1/2 of a 10 oz. jar.
Next, mix together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Get it nice and light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until a smooth dough is formed.
Measure out 1-1/4 cups of dough in a separate bowl and add the chopped cherries and almond extract. Blend together well.
The recipe also calls for adding a few drops of red food color. I didn't, I figured there was enough color in the cherries to turn the dough a nice shade of pink. I was right. If you want a deeper pink, by all means, add a few drops of red food coloring. Set this dough aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda.
Add the cocoa and baking soda to the remaining dough with 4 teaspoons of water and mix well.
Divide the chocolate dough into two equal pieces. The easiest way to do this is to use a kitchen scale. Or just eyeball it. What'eves.
Roll each half between two sheets of wax paper and form into a 12x4-1/2 inch rectangle. Seriously, waxed paper again. I told you this stuff is great!
Then, divide the cherry dough into two equal portions. Shape each into a 12-inch long "log". You may have to flour your hands a bit, but not too much.
Place the cherry "log" in the center of the chocolate rectangle and wrap the chocolate dough around it pinching the seam together. Use the waxed paper to lift the chocolate dough around the cherry.
Make sure the roll is tight and that the two doughs are stuck to each other without any "gaps".
Roll tightly in the wax paper and then again in plastic wrap. Refrigerate over night.
Note: I put one roll in the fridge and baked it the next day. The other roll went into the freezer and was baked a week later. Couldn't tell any differences between them, which makes this a great cookie to make ahead and bake as needed.
When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the dough about 1/4 inch thick and lay the slices out on a Slipat lined cookie sheet. At this point I thought the cookies seemed small and I was disappointed that they weren't perfectly round.
(The recipe says "ungreased cookie sheet". I tried some on the Silpat and some directly on the cookie sheet. "On the sheet" stuck. I would recommend the Silpat or some parchment paper.)
Once the cookies baked (for 7 minutes, just until set but not browned) they were bigger and more round. Yea! I need to learn to have more faith. After baking, let them rest 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing them to a rack to completely cool.
I was pleased with how this recipe turned out and will likely make these again. The result is a light delicate cookie with a subtile combination of cherry, almond and chocolate flavors. They look really festive, but, all in all, really weren't too difficult to put together.
Here is a link to the recipe on the Hershey's web site: Chocolate-Cherry Slice 'N' Bake Cookies. I didn't make the glaze that was included in the recipe. I really didn't think the cookies needed it.