Instead of filling the hollows with jam, there’s a whole maraschino cherry hidden under a little mound of chocolate ganache. These are completely unfussy cookies: the dough can be made ahead of time and refrigerated, as can the ganache. And the cookies are frosted before they are baked! Once cooled, the ganache is not at all sticky, meaning that the cookies can be stored in tins without fear of a gloppy mess.
Cherry Bombs (makes 3-4 dozen, may be doubled)
- 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp almond extract
- 3 c flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 10-oz jar stemless maraschino cherries, juice reserved
- 1 c (6 oz by weight) chocolate chips
- 1/2 c sweetened condensed milk
Make the cookie dough: Cream the butter by beating (with a mixer) for about 30 seconds, or until it turns a pale yellow color. Scrape it down from the sides of the bowl, add the sugar, and beat again about 2 minutes, until it is soft and almost white. Scrape the bowl again. Add eggs and both extracts. Beat at medium speed about 30 seconds, until it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Stop and scrape again.
Add the flour and mix on low speed about 30 seconds. Scrape bowl again. Mix a little more, until the dough sticks together and there are no streaks of unblended flour.
Note: the dough may be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen at this point.
Make the ganache: In a small saucepan, combine choc chips and condensed milk and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted (the microwave will do also). Add 1-2 Tbsp reserved cherry juice, to taste.
Note: the ganache may be made ahead and refrigerated, covered tightly, at this point.
Assemble the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Have cookie dough and ganache ready – the dough should be slightly chilled, and the ganache slightly warm.
Shape the dough into 1” balls and place about 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Make a deep thumbprint in the center of each ball. Put a drained cherry in each hole. Spoon 1 tsp frosting over each cherry, covering it completely.
Bake 10-13 min, until the cookies are just beginning to brown. Let cool on a rack – the cookies are fragile and bendable until they cool.