We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cookie Recipe #51 - Chocolate Cherry Cookies

A sweet maraschino cherry encased in a light chocolate cookie and drizzled with stripes of more chocolate makes for a pretty-to-look-at, but better-to-eat cookie.

Ingredients: 2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate (or 2 ounces chocolate chips), 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, maraschino cherries, well drained (about 48), 1 cup (6 ounces) more chocolate chips.

Instructions: Melt chocolate (or chips) in mircrowave for about 1 minute, stirring until completely melted; set aside to cool. Beat butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy; add egg, melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in flour and salt; cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. ( I found 1/2 hour was enough).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. With finger dipped in sugar, make deep indentation in center of each ball. Place a cherry into each indentation.

Bake about 6-8 minutes or just until set. Remove cookies and transfer to wire racks to cool. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in microwave, a minute or two, stirring after each minute, until melted completely. Drizzle chocolate over tops of cookies while still warm and refrigerate until chocolate is set.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. (Treasury of Holiday Cookies, Publications International, Ltd, Lincolnwood, IL, in 1994).

Cookies Rule!!!

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