Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cookies

In case you couldn’t tell from the lack of a single cookie recipe on here to date, I’m not really a cookie person. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (but you might not know it from all the cupcakes I make - and then give away), but, if given a choice between a cookie and a cupcake, I’m going for the cupcake, and pie beats out both of those. Sure, I’ll eat a cookie every now and then, but only if it’s a really good cookie – meaning that it is moist, chewy, and contains lots of stuff – chocolate chips, dried fruit, maybe some nuts, whatever, but there needs to be a lot of them in the cookie.





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).
All of these things combine to create what is possibly my favorite cookie ever. In addition to the aforementioned qualities I look for in a really good cookie, it’s also rich and has a sophisticated flavor courtesy of good quality dark chocolate, red wine, and a few spices. Seriously, these cookies are addictive – I had to give most of them away so that I wouldn’t eat them all.

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Chewy Chocolate Cherry 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.


10 comments:

Anonymous said...

These look absolutely delicious.

jenna said...

I am going to make these this weekend - they look divine!

ron said...

These look way better than any other chocolate chip cookie I have ever seen or eaten. What a wonderful recipe!

danielle said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I love chocolate and cherries and cookies (more so than cupcakes, but pie also trumps both for me.)

Rick said...

Keep making cookies like this and you might get a visit from the Cookie Monster. Watch out, I hear he can be an ornery bastard.

Laurie said...

I came to your blog via foodbuzz. Awesome food! :) Would you happen to have a recipe for that luscious ricotta that is easy to make? The "Fresh Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi" recipe looks wonderful!

Ciao!

edamame said...

Your site gave the devil in my heart big power. The devil said to me. "Eat this thing which I was sweet, and seemed to be delicious" As a result, I lost a fight with the devil. I was dieting so... (T_T)
From Japan
http://food-soybean.blogspot.com/

Meghan said...

Roopa

You've taken everything I loved about cherry chocolate and wine... (aside from my brownies) and turned them into a beautiful cookie!

I appreciate the hint on the bread flour!

ericabk said...

I am in the Patisserie and Baking program at California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and one of our chef instructors made this recipe at school yesterday (outside of class) and OMG! They are INCREDIBLE. I am all about cookies, but recipes often lack a sophistication and depth of flavor that I am looking for. NOT THESE! I will add this recipe to my personal collection for sure. They're truly fabulous!! (Also, this is the first time I've seen your blog and I'm excited to explore!)

melissacb said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! These are seriously awesome! I just made them & I can tell you they will not last long. The only thing I did differently was substitute maple syrup for the dark brown sugar (didn't have any)and bake them 2 xtra mins longer (hi-altitude in NM) the cookies still came out chewy. I used bittersweet Ghiradelli chips. Very good with a small glass of vino.

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