Monday, November 30, 2009

Lunch Buddies and Chocolate Cherry Cookies

For years I’ve been so lucky to share my lunch hour with my friend Sue Valenti. Sue is retiring in a few weeks, and I can’t imagine a lunch hour without her. We became fast friends across a cubicle divide about ten years ago, and it soon became evident that this friendship will last long beyond one person’s retirement. She’s a friend for life. Now we can look forward to spending non-work time together, without watching the clock to rush back to our offices. There are good times ahead.

Sue is a very good baker and every year at Christmas time she bakes dozens and dozens of cinnamon rolls as gifts. She’s not limited to cinnamon rolls, though. She has a great recipe for chocolate glazed cookies stuffed with cherries (recipe follows). She’s from Michigan and likes to bake “bars” as they’re called there. She also has a recipe for raisin pie and one for gum-drop bread. Her favorite cake is lemon, and I make one every year for her birthday. Here’s Sue’s recipe for Chocolate Cherry Cookies! They'd make a nice addition to your Christmas Cookie repetoire.

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 10 oz jars marashino cherries (drained, reserve juice)
1 6 oz package semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C sweetened condensed milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar well. Add egg and vanilla and blend well. Add dry ingredients and belnd well. Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press a cherry into the center of each ball. Over medium heat, melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk until melted and well blended. Stir in 4 tsp. cherry juice. If the mixture gets thick, add more cherry juice. Prior to baking, spoon 1 teaspoon of the frosting over each cookie.

These cookies are baked frosted. Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes.

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