It's cold and frosty outside, and the furnace decided to stop working today...while waiting for the furnace to be repaired, I made some cookies. I knew the heat from the oven would warm the house, and it would help to pass the time. Now the house is warm and toasty, and smells wonderful.
As far as what kind of cookies to make, I found a small piece of dark chocolate and some dried cherries. I made a variation of one of my favourite cookies, which is double chocolate and cranberry. Dried ancho chili powder and cinnamon gave a kick to the cookies, the dried cherries added a chewiness.
These cookies are soft and gooey, and if you eat them while they are still warm the soft chocolate adds a lovely, sweet messy element to them!
Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground dried ancho chili
Set aside until needed.
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down in between additions.
Add the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until almost combined.
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
Continue to mix on a low speed until everything is combined.
Turn the oven on to heat up to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Portion the cookie dough into balls and place them onto the cookie sheets, spacing them about 1" apart. Gently press them down slightly, as these cookies do not spread a lot during cooking.
Bake until the cookies are set, but still soft in the centre, about 14 - 16 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the tray, before serving.
- Not only did I warm the house up by using the oven to bake these cookies, but I also cleaned out some of the bits and pieces in my baking cupboard. The dried cherries leftover from baking brownies, the small chunk of chocolate and the last few chocolate chips in the bag.
- I chopped the chunk of chocolate into chunks and combined it with the chocolate chips to give a total of 1 cup of chocolate. You can use all chocolate chunks or chips if you like. You can also use any type of chocolate; I do think that dark chocolate ids the best complement to cherries.
- As I mentioned, I usually make these cookies using dried cranberries. Experiment with other dried fruit such as dried figs or mango.
- The addition of chopped nuts would add a crunch to the cookies...I wanted to add toasted almonds, only to find I had none. I used almond extract instead. Nuts that work well with cherries are almonds, hazelnuts or pecans. Any type of nut can be used.
- Other additions that you might want to consider are toffee bits, chopped caramels, crushed candy canes, candies such as M & Ms or chopped peanut butter cups. This can be a good opportunity to use up that Hallowe'en candy....
- Orange or lemon zest can be substituted for the almond extract.
- The spices are optional, and can be omitted. They can also be changed to other spices such as ground or fresh ginger; aniseed or start anise; cayenne pepper or chipotle chili.
- Espresso powder or instant coffee can be used to make a mocha cookie. I would leave out the cherries in this case, and add more chocolate and nuts.
- To make 'regular' chocolate chip cookies, omit the cocoa and use 2 3/4 cup of flour. The dried fruit can still be included.
- To make chocolate peanut butter cookies, use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Add chopped peanuts to the dough if you only have smooth peanut butter.
- The cookie dough can be made a couple of days ahead and kept refrigerated. if you want to freeze the cookie dough, portion it into balls before freezing. This allows you to defrost and bake as many cookies as you need, and still have more for another time. The cookies can also be frozen after they have been baked.