I made these a while back after I discovered a bag of dried cherries in my pantry. I really like the combination of dark chocolate and cherries, so I set about to create the perfect chocolate cherry cookie. There are a few things that make this cookie shine:
- Bread flour – Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, allowing for more gluten formation. Gluten makes things chewy. Swapping out a little bit of the all-purpose flour for bread flour makes the cookie chewier.
- A combination of granulated, light brown, and dark brown sugars – Brown sugars make cookies more moist and chewy than does granulated sugar. Normally, I would have used just light brown sugar, but I wanted these cookies to have a rich and deep flavor, which is why I used both light and dark brown sugar.
- Wine-poached cherries – Dried fruit are usually plumped up and softened by a soak in hot water. I decided to give the cherries some flavor at the same time, so I simmered them in a fruity red wine and added a dash of cinnamon and ancho chile powders to give them a little zing (and both cinnamon and ancho are wonderful with dark chocolate).
Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies
(makes about 28 2-½” cookies)
(makes about 28 2-½” cookies)
1 cup dried cherries (about 6 ounces)
1/3 cup fruity red wine (I used some leftover Nero d’Avola)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon, divided in half
¼ teaspoon Ancho chile powder, divided in half
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup bread flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup bittersweet chocolate discs (I used El Rey 70% discs because they melt better than chips or chunks, but you could certainly use bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks)
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
Add the cherries, wine, 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of Ancho chile powder to a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until almost all of the wine has been absorbed into the cherries, about 10 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and set it aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt, and remaining cinnamon and Ancho chile powder.
Add the butter and all three sugars to the bowl of a standing mixer or to a large bowl. Cream the mixture on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla and egg. Mix until well combined.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the cherries and chocolate chips and stir by hand to combine.
Use either a 1-ounce scoop or your hands to create balls of dough that are about 1 ¼” in diameter, arranging them on the baking sheets so that there is 1 ½” inches between each cookie, and press down on them to slightly flatten them. Bake for 12-13 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
Place the baking sheets on wire cooling racks. After 10 minutes, place the cookies directly on the wire rack and let them cool completely.