Dried Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Bluebirdland

Here’s the thing: I was watching the news, and after a while my mind started looking for avenues of escape. I found myself thinking about an old Italian grocery store I used to go to in Berwyn, Illinois, one that sold homemade Italian sausage, sauce, and all sort of Italian specialties, including liqueurs. I particularly remembered seeing maraschino liqueur sold in a beautiful green glass bottle, wrapped in straw.

Then, my mind saw a little door called “chocolate chip cookies,” and as I opened the door and fell down the rabbit hole, I thought of soaking dried cherries in maraschino liqueur, and adding them to a chocolate chip cookie recipe. The result is this cookie, which is a buttery pillow of melting chocolate chunks and chewy bits of tangy cherries. I used the “chunks” version of TollHouse semi-sweet chocolate, rather than the chips, and this added to the fun. Hope you enjoy!

Dried Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The footed bowl is from England, and is a pattern called “Vista.”

2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
11.5 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup (5 ounces) chopped dried cherries, soaked in 2 tablespoons maraschino liqueur or brandy
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter and the two sugars and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture, and then the dried cherries, the chocolate chunks and the nuts. You may want to mix this all together with your impeccably clean hands. Using a small cookie scoop, drop dough onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 4-1/2 dozen cookies.

Below see the dried cherries and maraschino liqueur, chopping the cherries, the batter, and the finished cookies.

Baking notes: Maraschino liqueur is made from a sour Morello cherry called the Marasca cherry. It tastes like a delicious brandy, and isn’t actually cherry flavored, so you could use brandy or whiskey in this recipe. But it is fun to have the authentic, green glass, straw-wrapped bottle. I took the time to chop each dried cherry in half–it’s actually easier then chopping a big sticky mass of dried cherries.

Some years ago, my sister Janet created a wonderful Thanksgiving feast, and I wrote a story about it, adding the recipes used for the dinner. It was just for fun, and I made up copies and handed them around to family members. Our local library recently made e-book publishing software available to patrons, and I decided to turn my Thanksgiving book into an e-book. This is by a long way of saying that if you click here or on the book cover, it will take you to my book catalog, and then to the book. While it isn’t exactly Thanksgiving season, still, I hope you enjoy.

Bluebird Land

Jim and I recently went for a walk by the river in a nature area called Ferson Creek Fen. The river sometimes overflows its banks here, creating wet meadows of sedges and bullrushes. It was a sunny, sparkling day and we saw our first bluebirds! What a thrill! Peace to you. Fran

bluebird land

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