Deep, dark, and chocolatey, these cakey cookies are chock full of cherries and nuts, then topped with a chocolate glaze. The original recipe used maraschino cherries, but if you are concerned about red food dye you can substitute jarred, pitted sour cherries. Cut them into quarters and drain in a fine mesh sieve. To get the most moisture out of the cherries, top it with a piece of cling film and set a 28 oz can on top. Allow it to sit for about an hour and drip. The cherry flavor will be very mild with the sour cherries, so if you want it stronger consider buying cherry extract and add a small amount instead of vanilla to the dough. What I love about this recipe is that it’s fairly adaptable; you can use nuts if you wish or omit them altogether, use some chocolate chips, or change up the kind of cherries.
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional: you can substitute ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups maraschino cherries or jarred sour pitted cherries, drained and chopped (reserve 1/4 cup juice)
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat well. With the mixer on low speed, combine with the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the cherries and nuts, if using. When you add the cherries, the dough will seem very wet but don’t worry, it’s okay.
Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops are set when you gently touch them. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before glazing.
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. vanilla or almond extract (you can sub cherry if you aren’t using maraschino cherry juice)
1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice, or the juice from sour pitted cherries
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
Melt the butter in a saucepan until smooth and stir in the cocoa, vanilla and cherry juice. Whisk in icing sugar until smooth. The glaze will seem thin but will thicken up if you let it stand a few minutes and cool. It will be thicker if you choose to use the maraschino cherry juice, but still works very well with the sour cherry juice.
Frost cooled cookies and top with ½ maraschino cherry, an almond sliver, or just leave as is.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies