Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

Hello, long time, no blog. Sorry, lots of summer activities and vacation and no time to cook. No cooking = no blogging = unhappy me. But, I'm back and firing up the oven and stove again and ready to try a bunch of new recipes that I've collected over the summer. So get ready, here we go. . .

I realized that it had been quite a while since I made homemade cookies and that it was time to fill the cookie jar. So, I headed to my fist internet stop for recipes, Pinterest, clicked through a dozen or so cookie recipes and decided to make Chocolate Cherry Shortbread. Partly because they looked different and mostly because I love cherries and chocolate. As I was gathering the ingredients the recipe seemed oddly familiar. And why? Probably because I've made a similar cookie on this blog. HA! You may have seen it here. I decided to go ahead and share this recipe because it is somewhat different. No almond flavor and no two flavors of dough. This cookie is basically a similar flavor combination but the texture is more dense and shortbread like. It's is also a LOT easier to make, fewer steps. The only tweaks I made to the original recipe was to skip the chocolate drizzle and add sprinkles to the outside of the cookie. It was mostly and aesthetic choice, because I liked the look of these cookies. Sprinkles or not, give these cookies a try. . .

Some basic cookie ingredients: unsalted butter, powdered sugar, AP flour, salt, maraschino cherries, chocolate chips, vanilla and chocolate jimmies.

Start by chopping the cherries. After reading the ingredients on the cherries I had a mini freak out (see below*). So, I rinsed the cherries really well under cold running water. Then patted them very dry with paper towels. Then, and only then, did I chop them. This was probably a good idea anyway because you don't want too much moisture in the cherries or your dough will be really soft and soggy.

Cream the butter an powdered sugar until fluffy. There isn't a lot of sugar in these cookies because most of the sweetness comes from the cherries and chocolate. Don't worry if the dough doesn't taste overly sweet, it's no supposed to.

Add the flour and salt and mix on medium low just until the dough starts to come together.

Lastly, add the chopped cherries and chocolate chips and stir to distribute evenly.

Plop the dough out onto a large sheet of waxed paper and roll into a log. The dough may be sticky, mine was because it was a hot day and my butter was way soft. Resist the temptation to flour your hands or the wax paper, just roll it into a log the best you can using the wax paper to help it along.

Once you've got a nice roll that's about 2 inches in diameter and about 16-18 inches long you can add sprinkles to the outside. Again this dough is pretty sticky so it picks up a good amount of sprinkles. I went with these chocolate jimmies which worked really well. You can skip this step all together if you like but I really liked the look of these cookies and couldn't resist.

Ohhh, pretty, a nice thick coat of chocolate jimmies.

Tightly wrap the dough in wax or parchment paper, twist the end to seal and refrigerate for 2-3 hours at the least. I went with overnight.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Slice the cookies a scant 1/4 inch thick and lay about 2 inches apart on a lined cookie sheet. Use a really sharp knife and a back and forth slicing motion to get through the chocolate chips without squashing the shape of the cookies.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges just start to brown. Mine took 15. Then remove to a rack to cool.

I really preferred these to my previous Chocolate Cherry cookie. There were fewer ingredients and fewer steps involved but essentially the same (or similar) flavor profile. Like any good shortbread, these got better with age (within reason of coarse.) I love the ease of a slice and bake cookie and minus the chocolate chips and cherries this is a good foundation for any flavor slice and bake shortbread cookie. I'll be trying more variations for sure. Give 'em a try.

Here is a link to the recipe and note that I used dark chocolate chips, eliminated the chocolate drizzle and added jimmies to the outside: Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Cookies.

* A word about Maraschino Cherries: YUCK! That what I thought when I finally read the ingredients on the jar of these glorious red globs. Lots of preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Again, YUCK! And I know, they barely resemble the cherries from whence they came. But oh aren't they festive. Glorious and red and shiny. What would a Shirley Temple or an Ice Cream Sundae be with the cherry. I'm conflicted about them for sure. So, since I only use them once or twice a year I'm not going to worry about it too much. That being said, I am now officially on the hunt for a less offensive substitute. I'll keep you posted.

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