Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies...

The cookie monster has stuck again... yes, more cookies! Could there ever be too many? To keep our bellies busy since I have started to bake treats for gifts this year, I made a batch of these Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies for us to snack on.

Quite dark, thanks to the addition of Dutch-process cocoa powder, the dough for these cookies didn't take more than a few minutes to toss together... once the butter had softened enough! Do you have to use that kind of cocoa? No, these would still work well if you only had natural cocoa powder. However, I'm more likely to have Dutch-process on hand in the pantry and we enjoy the smoother punch.

Once the slightly sticky dough had been combined, we perked the mass up with a couple fun additions of dried tart cherries and chopped chunks of bittersweet chocolate. If bittersweet is too dark for you with the cocoa, feel free to use semi-sweet chocolate instead. Scooped out with a handy tablespoon cookie scoop, you'll want to bake these cookies just until the centers are set for the best chew. The cookies will still be quite soft when you take them out, so they'll need to cool for at least 5 minutes on the baking sheet to firm back up - this also aids in their chewy quality.

After they have cooled completely, they do have a mild crispness to the outside, but if you rather prefer your cookies to be more crisp, you might try leaving them in an extra minute or so. I know dried cherries can be a bit of an expense, but I do suggest seeking them out for these cookies as their tart bite combined with the chocolate was, quite simply put, so good!

I knew I wasn't going to have much time to mess around with prep for dinner, so when I was planning out the menu this week, I chose these Peanutty Baked Chicken Breasts to make tonight.

The pieces of chicken I was going to be using were fairly thick, so I took a few extra minutes this morning to pound them between a couple sheets of plastic wrap to get that part out of the way. If you don't want to bother with that, just pick up a few chicken cutlets at the market instead.

Encasing the chicken is a combination of ground peanuts and coarse panko breadcrumbs. Rather than doing a dunk in flour and egg to help the nutty coating stick, we made a homemade honey mustard and brushed each piece with the sticky mixture. After dragging the chicken breasts back and forth a couple times, the coating grabbed onto the meat with ease and that was it! While you could pan fry these, we went with the less messy way of lightly coating each piece with olive oil spray and stashing them into a hot oven for a few minutes to cook through.

A hint of sweetness, a little tangy and a bit salty, this turned out to be a pleasant way to change up ordinary chicken breasts in a speedy fashion. Cooking them quickly in the oven left the chicken tender and still plenty moist - while the coating does end up with a bit of crunch, don't expect it to be extra crisp since they were not drenched in oil. We had them as is, but I bet after slicing them into strips, they would make an excellent topping for a salad as well!


  1. Chocolate and cherries is a glorious combination! These look great!

  2. Nice chicken, this is tempting me to try them. Cookies look yummy also.

  3. both sound pretty tasty....

    today I made your Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti....and drizzled a little dark chocolate on a few to test... mmmmm.... it adds just that little something extra for the holidays. This was the test batch..but... more to come.... and soon.

  4. Joe, I forgot to mention the other day that I finally made your pizza crust. I wasn't feeling well, and my regular dough requires kneading, and i was in a pickle. I remembered your pizza dough, and I thought to myself that if Joe and Jeff can eat this pizza dough once a week, it must be good. So I whipped it up, and we all really enjoyed the pizza. It's our new go-to, and it couldn't be easier! Thanks for talking about it so much. ;)

  5. TOTALLY gonna have to makek those cookies! Cherry and chocolate together? YUM!

  6. Brilynn - We agree!

    Helene - Thanks!

    BV - Glad you tried those biscotti! They were quite tasty.

    Erika - Awesome! I love that dough... such a snap to throw together. Speaking of, I'll be using it again tonight!

    Jeph - Yeah! They go so well together.