Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Growing up in a Jewish household, I use to gaze upon Christmas activities in envy. Yes, I had Hanukkah, but the magic of Christmas always seemed to outshine the festivities of Hanukkah. The funny thing is, that the Jewish guilt I was raised by made me feel guilty for feeling this way. I really believed that it was sinful, as though the gates of hell were to crack open between my feet and gobble me up....seriously.

Now of course, I was the kid that always knew that there was no such thing as Santa Claus, but I still begged my mom every year to take me to see Santa, and so she did, the Jew and Santa. I would sit on his lap, pretend I was blissfully ignorant, and wish for my gift. I remember one night, my mom and I sneaked on over to Midnight Mass and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I walked into that church and was sure I was going straight to hell, but as soon as the choir started to sing, I was moved to tears.

Fast forward 20 years, and I hit gold! Sure, I married my soul-mate, the love of my life, but he also happens to celebrate Christmas. The Jewish guilt has subsided and I now approach the holiday season with ardent fervor. As our family grew, we created our own family traditions; celebrating both holidays and oftentimes, infusing one into the other. The meaning of Christmas, or Hanukkah for that matter, have no religious connotations, to me, but evoke a time of strong familial bonding. I love that come Christmas morning, the whole world seems to shut down. There are no e-mail alerts buzzing from my phone, no phone calls being made, no store to rush to, just straight-up family time. Joy to the world indeed!

Much of these traditions are driven by food! I mean, it is the holidays after all! As I mentioned in the webisode, one bite of these cookies, no matter what time of year it is, instantly transports me to jingle bells and tinsel. I am very excited to share them with you and I hope that you enjoy them every bit as I do. Just a few pointers before we get to the recipe:

- This recipe has been doubled, so it does produce a large quantity. However,
since these cookies are a bit arduous, it is worth making a big batch.
- Don't expect your typical chocolate chip cookie dough. This dough will
be thick.
- It helps to dampen your hands when you are forming the balls. This keeps the
dough from sticking.
- When making the chocolate sauce, make sure to stir constantly!

And now, to the recipe. Here is wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas, whatever your family traditions might be, may your time spent together be meaningful and joyful. Until next time, cheers and happy eating!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
Makes 28 cookies

1 Cup butter, room temperature
2 Cups sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3 Cups of flour
1 Cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 10oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained, juice reserved
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1-1 1/2 teaspoon reserved cherry juice

Combine the first four ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix. Dough will be stiff.

Drain the cherries, reserve juice, and pat dry.

Make one-inch round balls with the dough and place on a greased cookie sheet. Pat a cherry into each ball.

On low heat, pour condensed milk and stir in the chocolate chips. Stir often until chocolate chips melt. Add cherry juice as necessary.

Cover each cherry completely with the frosting.

Bake in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, being extra cautious to not over bake.


Rebeckyruth said...

That song made me miss you sooooo much! I miss you from the West Coast and wish I could pack you up in my suitcase!

I am going to try those cookies...they are fat free, right? ha ha

Averill said...

Dave is dying to make these cookies this week -- it's definitely a Conn family tradition! We missed you guys this weekend...Xmas just isn't the same without Cayden & Romy's unbridled excitement!