Cherry Chocolate Cookies

Cookies February 2 082 Edited Cherry Chocolate Cookies

I would love to explain my absence by saying I have been sailing around the Caribbean. Or visiting the islands of the South Pacific. But no, I have been here all along. Watching my website crash (literally) and burn. But I think it’s back.

The website circling the drain was just part of the glory of the past three weeks. Somebody tried to steal my credit card. The hot water heater conked out. And of the 2o buildings that make up the complex I call home, only the exterior lights on my building have decided not to flicker on this week. At some point, all you can do is laugh.

Cookies February 2 099 Edited Cherry Chocolate Cookies

And wonder what the heck is going on. I had no sooner said just that when it came to my attention that I could blame it all on Mercury retrograde. With that explanation in hand, everything felt normal again. Which should probably say something (not flattering, I am sure) in and of itself.

The good news is we are down to less than 12 hours. At 9 a.m. tomorrow morning, Mercury turns direct. Even more good news is the oven never quit working, so I’ve got cookies. These rich chocolate cookies are studded with sweet dried cherries and chocolate chunks.  Just the combination to provide a little pick-me-up when nothing else seems to be going right. Enjoy!

Cookies February 2 093 Edited Cherry Chocolate Cookies


5.0 from 1 reviews

Cherry Chocolate Cookies
Serves: approx. 26 cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for one minute.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, followed by the vanilla.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the cherries and chocolate until dispersed throughout the dough.
  6. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 14 minutes. The edges will be set but the centers will be soft when done.


Oktoberfest! Chocolate Beer Balls

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“Beer and chocolate are two pleasures that should be enjoyed and savored.”
-Samuel Adams


Happy Oktoberfest! The 180th Oktoberfest kicked off today in Munich. I am not in Munich and am therefore left to drown my sorrows in the kitchen. Just like last year, the next 16 days will feature recipes made with beer in honor of the season.

That is all I know about the form Oktoberfest on the blog will take this year. Last year, I planned an Oktoberfest menu with seven different types of beer. This year, I have a stack of recipes, a refrigerator full of beer and hopes for the best. So on that note, let’s start with dessert first – chocolate beer balls.

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For the chocolate beer, I chose Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee. Holy. Freaking. Moly. This beer is good. I add this with the caveat that a beer purist might not think so. It does not taste like beer. It tastes instead like a sweet, warm whiskey coffee. It also smells amazing.

As for the recipe, if you too choose this beer, note that it is sold in a 22 ounce bottle. The recipe requires only four ounces of beer. Sixteen ounces of leftovers, and you have nothing but a good time on your hands. For the cookies, you can use store-bought or use this chocolate wafer cookies recipe to make your own  at home.

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Not a fan of beer? No worries. After October 6, things will be back to normal. Until then, Prost!

Chocolate Beer Balls
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 30
  • 3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1½ cups almonds, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup (preferably dark)
  • ½ cup chocolate beer
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, 1 cup of powdered sugar, chopped almonds, cinnamon and cocoa powder.
  2. Stir in the corn syrup and beer and mix well.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help set the mixture for rolling.
  4. When the dough is chilled and somewhat firm, roll the dough into small balls.
  5. Next roll the balls in the remaining ½ cup of powdered sugar until lightly coated.
  6. Enjoy immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
If you plan to prepare this dessert in advance, I recommend waiting until immediately before serving to coat the balls with the powdered sugar. The chocolate balls will absorb most of the sugar, so waiting until the last minute to coat them will improve their look.

This dough is pretty soft, so you may want to work in batches when rolling it into balls, keeping the dough you are not working with refrigerated. Likewise, you may find it easier to coat the balls in powdered sugar if you refrigerate them for another 30 minutes or so after rolling and before coating.


Chocolate Coconut Candy Balls

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 “From that moment and through everything that followed, sugar could always be counted on to please her. It was as though sweet things were what she was born for.” - Beloved by Toni Morrison

That pretty much sums it up. Sheer sugar with some butter thrown in for good measure. What could be better? In fact, these chocolate coconut balls are so good they were christened with the nickname “balls of heaven.” I do not know if I would go that far, but they are surprisingly good.

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I also do not know what possessed me to make homemade chocolates in August. Although the mindset for many has turned to back-to-school, the way I look at it, there are still a good two good weeks of bikini season left. Here in the south, we can probably get away with six. Bikini time is not a good time for chocolates.

But if you are in the mood for a homemade sweet, these are the way to go. The recipe yields close to four dozen chocolates, so there is plenty to go around. I think they would make for a nice homemade gift around the winter holidays or Valentine’s Day when love and comfort are in the air and bikinis are safely tucked away in dresser drawers (where they belong). Enjoy!

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Chocolate Coconut Balls
Serves: 42-28
  • 2 pounds confectioners sugar
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded or flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1 package chocolate bark coating
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, condensed milk, butter and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Add the coconut and nuts and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Chill for at least one hour or up to overnight. This will help the mixture hold together when rolled into balls.
  4. When ready to prepare, roll tablespoons full of the mixture into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
  5. Melt the chocolate bark in the microwave, heating 30 seconds at a time and then stirring until completely melted.
  6. Dip the prepared candy balls into the melted chocolate one at a time, then place on a separate cookie sheet lined with wax paper to allow the chocolate to set.
You may want to work in batches by rolling two dozen balls, then refrigerating one dozen while dipping the second dozen in chocolate and so forth.