December 6: Cherry Surprise Cookies

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Cherry Surprise Cookies (from Honest and Truly)

Ingredients:

  • 10 T unsalted butter, softened (or coconut oil to make them dairy free)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T milk (or rice or soy or almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla bean extract (I used almond actually)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 30 maraschino cherries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until they are creamy and have come back together and the color is lightened. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and mix to combine. Once it’s mixed together, turn it up to high again for another thirty or so seconds to get it nice and fluffy.
  3. Add the salt and baking powder, and mix well. Then add the flour, and stir slowly until it’s combined.
  4. Prepare your cherries. Place a paper towel in a small bowl and remove the maraschino cherries from their juice. If they have stems, go ahead and remove them and let the cherries dry out a bit on the towel.
  5. Scoop out cookies using a cookie scoop or make little mounds with about 2 tablespoons of dough each. This is what you’ll use to start the cookie itself. They don’t need to be pretty yet, as we’re just focused on making sure that your cookies will all be approximately the same size.
  6. Next, start making the surprise. Pick up a dough mound and carefully flatten it in your hand. You want it to be a little over two inches in diameter, but they don’t have to be perfect circles.
  7. Place a cherry in the center of your flattened disc and fold the edges up around it. Crimp and seal the opening and roll the balls in your hand until they are completely sealed and nicely rounded. Place on a cookie sheet. Make sure they are a couple inches apart, though they don’t spread as much as many other cookies and can be a little closer than normal.
  8. If you’re dipping them in sugar, now is the time to do it. Place your sugar or sprinkles in a small dish and gently press the top of your cookie into the sugar before placing the cookie onto the cookie sheet.
  9. Bake in your 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden around the edge and the outside is starting to crack. Cool on your cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.

I have been looking for the same cookie recipe for the better part of a decade. It has almond extract and maraschino cherries. The dough is almost like a butter cookie, and the cherry sits in the middle of it, totally hidden.

This isn’t it.

But it’s pretty close.

Butter cookie-based, maraschino cherries, and almond extract…okay, this recipe calls for vanilla bean extract, but I used almond because I love almond.

I mixed it together, poured a bottle of maraschino cherries in a strainer and rinsed, dried said cherries, and took mounds of dough and turned them into mini cookie dough pancakes. The cherries found a home in the dough, where I rounded them into balls.

I also dipped the cherry balls in red sugar. I have a small problem with sprinkles, as I’ve mentioned before. Here’s the current collection:

And I like looking for different colors, sizes, and mixes. But for these, I just used regular old red sugar.

For the first batch, I just dipped the tops in red sugar. This was before I knew the cookies would spread the way they did. And the result out of the oven looked like slightly pornographic cookies, if that particular industry was interested in middle age women.

So for the next batch, I rolled the whole cookie in red sugar, and we had success.

Once they cooled, my taste-tester and I determined that these were pretty darn good.

Maybe not the recipe I’ve been trying to recreate over the years, but still delicious.

December 2: Swedish Butter Cookies

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Today I made this wonderful recipe from my friend Michele, that she shared with me a few years ago. I have a lot of work to catch up on today, so I needed something that wouldn’t take a lot of time. Swedish butter cookies are pretty quick while also being impressive. When I put the cherry on each one, my daughter saw them and said, “Oh yeah! I love these kind!”

The dough is a standard butter, sugar, vanilla base, with an egg yolk instead of the whole egg. The egg white is kept for later, when it needs to be whipped. Once the flour and half-and-half is incorporated, it should make a ball in the mixer. For me, that generally means it all congregates on my paddle attachment and brings the top of the mixer down with a big thud. 

I whipped the egg white in a tiny little bowl with one whisk attachment of my hand mixer. I also chopped a 1/2 cup of pecans with my old Pampered Chef chopper. I ended up needing more, because I wasn’t being stingy with the pecans. 

I like to dry the maraschino cherries a bit, so the juice from it doesn’t stain the cookie. I also like to swat the little girl that keeps stealing maraschino cherry halves from my bowl when I’m not looking. You dip a dough ball in the egg white, and then the pecans, and put it on a cookie sheet. When the tray is full, put half of a maraschino cherry in the middle of each cookie, pressing down slightly.

Into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes they go. Keep an eye on these. A few years ago, I burnt a batch of these because I got distracted by a cool looking spider that I wanted to take a picture of. I got the picture of the spider, but at the expense of a tray of cookies. It was a sad day. 

I love these cookies, and they look so pretty with the cherry in the middle. Truth be told, I love maraschino cherries, and I always think about the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall has a coworker that does all this crazy stuff, including eating a jar of maraschino cherries for money. I never understood that, because I’d totally do it for free. And maybe actually have. 

Swedish Butter Cookies(

(courtesy of the fabulous Miss Michele!)

  • ½ lb. butter or margarine (2 sticks)
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1 egg yolk (save whites to whip)
  • 1 T. half & half (I always use milk)
  • ½ t. baking powder
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
  • 1 bottle maraschino cherries

Cream butter, add sugar; add egg yolk then vanilla and mix well.  Next, add the flour with the baking powder mixed in.  Alternate adding the flour with the half & half.  Form dough into little balls the size of a walnut.  Whip egg whites stiff.  Dip dough balls into whipped egg white and roll in pecans.  Place a half of a cherry in the center and push it down lightly.  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 15-20 min. in a 350 degree oven.  Watch them so they don’t over brown.  Yum, yum, yum!