I love to bake cookies that make people say, “how did she do that?” Chocolate Cherry-Almond Cookies bring out that kind of response.
And the truth is, it’s super easy to make striped cookies and once you get the hang of it, you’ll start to experiment with other ingredients. I got this recipe from Kathleen Purvis, food editor at the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. She uses candied cherries but I substitute dried cherries. Candied cherries are widely available around Christmas but can be difficult to find at other times of the year. Craisins would work, as would any other dried fruit. Make them tropical with dried mango and change up the almonds for chopped macadamia nuts. Maybe dried blueberries and pecans?
So, back to those stripes. The dough is divided into three parts, two of them laced with the chopped, dried cherries. The third is mixed with melted chocolate. A loaf pan is lined with foil. One third of the cherry dough is layered evenly into the pan, the chocolate layer next and the last cherry layer after that. Chill for at least 8 hours.
Cut the loaf into three pieces lengthwise and start slicing. These are slice-and-bake cookies with an attitude.
Oh, and the recipe makes a lot. Bonus!
Sometimes cookies taste better as they cool. This is a bitter realization for those of us who stuff them in our mouths as soon as they come out of the oven. Let Chocolate Cherry-Almond Cookies cool completely. Taste. Then wait a couple of hours. Taste again. Perfection.
These are totally freezeworthy, too. Cool completely and store in an air-tight container. (Or zipper-closed bags.)
- 1 cup (sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup finely chopped dried cherries, divided
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil.
- Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl. Gradually add to butter, mixing until well blended. Dough will be stiff.
- Divide dough into thirds. Add half the cherries to a third, kneading to blend. Press into bottom of prepared loaf pan. Knead melted chocolate and almonds into another third. Press evenly over chocolate layer. Add remaining cherries to remaining third of dough and press evenly over chocolate layer. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Invert pan; remove foil from dough.
- Cut dough lengthwise into 3 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on racks.