As of yesterday, I am completely finished with all things school related until August when I begin my student teaching at a local elementary school. The application process for the program began back in December and was pretty involved. I won't go into it, but the last hurdle to jump before being officially accepted was passing my classes this semester. While it pretty much goes without saying that I passed my classes (A's all around), things were rather stressful with one of my Elementary Education classes because of a huge final project that was worth 40% of the grade. Plus it was up for the instructor of that class to decide whether or not we're all ready for our internships and that decision was not necessarily related to the grade the student earned. For example, last year a student got a B overall but was failed from the class and had to take it again this year. There are others that have not been allowed into the student teaching program either because of this instructor's decision. I wasn't REALLY worried that things wouldn't work out, but it was a concern, you know? Thankfully, I got 99 out of 100 points on my project, the go ahead from the instructor, and am now officially accepted into the program. PHEW! And YAY! It will be an extremely busy year, but I'm really looking forward to it!
So, why did I tell you all this? Well, I needed an excuse to bake cookies and figured this was as good as any :oD This particular recipe is called Chocolate Cherry Drops and is from the old Betty Crocker's Cooky Book from the 1960s and is a variation listed for the plain Chocolate Drop. It is the third recipe I've made from the book. First was Canadian Honey Drops back in October, and in December I made the Candy Cane Cookies but kinda sorta forgot to post about them so am waiting until this Christmas. I really liked those two cookies and am happy to say that Chocolate Cherry Drops are definitely a success, too! Way to go, Betty! The cookies turned out fantastically and are everything I hoped they would be. On their own, they are nice and fairly chocolaty and the cherries are really wonderful. The chocolate frosting spread on top really punches them up though and turns them into winners! If you have the book, I used Marie's Chocolate Frosting, which was one of the three frostings suggested for this cookie. I did have to make a couple small changes based on what I had, but nothing significant, and I noted my changes in the recipe.
The texture of my cookies is kind of "different" though. They're similar to chocolate chip cookies in that the edges are a little crisp and they're soft and chewy in the center, but they're also kind of cakey and kind of brownie-ish. The thickness ended up being pretty interesting. Mine turned out on the thin side (though not ridiculously so) and are fairly fragile. I did some internet snooping and found photos of the Chocolate Drops other people produced from the same recipe. Some turned out thin like mine, others turned out very tall- almost spherical- just like in the picture in the book, and some turned out in between. I really have NO idea why we there are so many different results, but I'll bet they're great in all forms! My mother-in-law really wants to try the Chocolate Cherry Drops so I plan to make them again when they visit this summer and if I get different results I will update this post.
Chocolate Cherry Drop Cookies
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used 2 1/2 oz by weight of bittersweet chips)
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
1/3 C buttermilk (or 1/3 C milk combined with 1 t lemon juice and allowed to sit for 10 minutes)
1 t vanilla extract
1 3/4 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 C maraschino cherries, drained (keep the juice) and chopped roughly (I just used a 16 oz jar)
2 T butter
2 oz unsweetened (or bittersweet) chocolate by weight
3 1/2 T cherry juice from the jar, warmed
2 C powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. The parchment paper is very important, if your cookies turn out like mine they will be fragile and they come off the parchment paper very easily! In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate in 15 second increments, stirring thoroughly between heatings, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to cook it too long! Set chocolate aside to cool to room temperature for a few minutes. Stir in the sugar, butter, and egg until smooth, then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into chocolate mixture, then stir in cherries. The dough will look like chocolate frosting, yum! Drop the dough by teaspoons onto your lined cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The dough will probably spread so plan accordingly and don't make them too monstrous. Bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes. These cookies need less baking time than the average cookie. Allow cookies to cool on sheets until you can pick them up easily, then move them to a cookie rack so they can cool all the way.
When the cookies have cooled, make the frosting. Place the butter and chocolate together in a medium sized microwave safe bowl and microwave in 15 second increments until butter is melted, about 30 seconds in all. Stir until chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. Stir in cherry juice, then stir in powdered sugar. Add a little more cherry juice or powdered sugar if necessary to get a spreadable consistency. Spread frosting on cookies. Don't pile on too much or it will cover the cherry flavor! Let cookies sit until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes to an hour. Store them in a tin with wax paper between the layers and keep them refrigerated so the cherries don't get funky.
Yield: 3 to 4 dozen depending on how big you make them