Friday, December 21, 2012

Cherry Bombs

We have a tradition of baking cookies with our friends on the weekend following Thanksgiving. The kitchen is filled with cookies in all stages from dough to cooling racks. There's a crowd around the table decorating the cut-out teapots and hedgehogs. We always include this particular cookie, which is a favorite for the taste, for the simplicity, and for the wonderful oddity of frosting the cookies before baking them.

Cherry Bombs

Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce jar drained maraschino cherries without stems, liquid reserved (about 40 cherries)
6 oz (1 cup) chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, and salt to combine well and aerate. Add the egg and both extracts to the butter and sugar, mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture, beating well. Chill the dough, wrapped, for several hours (or up to three days).

At baking time, preheat the oven to 375ยบ F. Divide the dough into 40 pieces, and shape each one into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place about 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Make a deep thumbprint in the center of each ball. Put a drained cherry in each hole.

In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and the condensed milk, and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted. You can also use a microwave on about 70% power. Add about 4 teaspoons of the reserved cherry liquid. Spoon 1 teaspoon of frosting over each cherry, covering it completely.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are pale brown just at the edges. They keep well in an air-tight tin, that is, if your family will leave them alone. 

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