Hoo-boy, these are the ultimate cookies. My signature cookies, I would say. I always made these for Christmas. I even wrote about them in my “other” blog, the one I began in 2005, and where I still discuss other-than-food matters (unless a food matter just can’t be resisted). If you go to that old entry, be sure to click on the photo to enlarge it.
I clipped this recipe from a magazine years ago. Since then, they have become my “trademark” cookie. I have never seen this recipe anywhere else — and it is excellent! Lotsa chocolate and cherries — they even freeze well and are even good and soft eaten frozen. The version below reflects years of tweaking from the original magazine recipe.
I found the original of this recipe in the “Best You Can Bake” Chocolate Desserts cookbook.
- 1 1/2 cup margarine
- 3 C sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
- scant 4 cups flour (about a tablespoon less than 4 full cups)
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 28 ounce jar maraschino cherries. This will probably be more cherries than you need. And just get the non-health-food-store type of maraschino cherries. Eating these once in a while isn’t a death sentence. You need some of the cherry juice for the frosting.
- 36 ounces chocolate chips
- 3 cups sweetened condensed milk. One 14-ounce can has 20 tablespoons; you need about 2 1/2 cans.
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cherry juice (from the drained maraschino cherries)
Begin by draining the maraschino cherries through a colander, reserving the juice. After you drain them, place them on a double layer of paper towels and roll them around until most of the juice is gone. This is a really important step. Let them continue drying as you prepare the batter.
Cream the margarine and sugar, the add the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients and stir to combine. With the mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredient mixture to the creamed mixture in portions (so as not to make a big mess). Mix just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Place a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet or half-sheet pan. Heat the oven to 350˚.
Shape the dough into 1″ balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Push down the center of each ball with your thumb, then place 1 cherry in the indentation.
Bake 10 minutes at 350°. Do not overcook!
To make the frosting, put the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk and cook on high in the microwave until chocolate melts.This takes several minutes; check the melting process by stirring. When all of the chocolate is melted, stir in the cherry juice. Add a little more cherry juice if the frosting is too thick.
When the cookies are cool, you can start frosting them. I always lay them out on the counter on sheets of wax paper. Then, I pick up a cookie, hold it over the bowl of frosting, and completely cover the cookie with frosting, and place it back on the wax paper to cool.
Let the cookies stand in a single layer over night to let the frosting set completely before you pack them into containers. This recipe makes about 6 dozen cookies. They are great fresh, and they also freeze well. You can eat them frozen!