Inspired by the classic candy, these Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies are rich and decadent. A maraschino cherry is planted in the center of each cookie before baking.
Chocolate-covered cherries are usually my first pick from a box of chocolates. But only if it’s the kind with the liquid center – yum! These Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies give the classic candy some new competition. They are soft and chewy, with deep chocolate flavor. The maraschino cherries are covered with fudgy frosting that makes them taste like the classic bonbon.
Begin these cookies by whisking the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. There’s just four ingredients: flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Always remember the salt! I can usually tell when baked goods are missing this ingredient. It’s so important to enhance and bring forth all the flavors.
The secret ingredient!
Almond paste really boosts the maraschino cherry flavor. And it makes the baked cookies so chewy! You can find it at the grocery store in the baking aisle. Sometimes it’s in a can, and sometimes a box with a tube inside (or order some right here).
Place the almond paste in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip it with sugar, and then beat in butter. I also added a splash of homemade cherry liqueur. (Which is excellent and appropriate in these cookies, but you could use cherry extract or vanilla extract instead!) Beat the mixture until it becomes fluffy, then you’re ready to add the dry ingredients.
When the dry ingredients are incorporated, portion out the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets (slightly larger than 1 inch balls). Use a cookie scoop if you have one, otherwise portion onto cookie sheets with a tablespoon for about 24 cookies.
Roll each dough ball between your palms and then plant a maraschino cherry right in the center of each ball, thumbprint cookie style. And save the cherry juice! You’ll use the reserved cherry juice in the glaze recipe. I used cherries with stems, but it’s totally optional. Maybe you’d prefer a stem-less cherry. Either way the cookies will look cute and taste great! After baking, let them cool on the pans completely, or after 5 minutes you an transfer them to a wire rack.
Let’s talk about the frosting for a quick moment. It’s so fudge-like, made on the stove top with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, and maraschino cherry juice. Pipe or spoon some on top of each cookie. You can completely cover the cherries with the frosting, but I chose to just half cover them. I think they look beautiful on a cookie tray with the cherry tops peeking out.
These cookies are deeply chocolaty with a slight chew and bright maraschino flavor from the almond paste. The middles are soft and moist around the cherry. They look so adorable placed in cupcake papers. It gives them the appearance of chocolate bonbons. I may have to make another batch just box up for sweetheart gifts on Feb. 14th!
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 4.5 oz. almond paste about 6 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon cherry liqueur or kirsch
- 24 maraschino cherries well drained and patted dry
Glaze and décor
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice from the jar of cherries
- 2 tablespoons white nonpareils optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, dark cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Place the almond paste in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Turn on low speed and gradually add the sugar and mix until crumbly. Beat butter in one cube at a time, beating well until the mixture becomes lightened and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and mix again to make sure no lumps or almond paste are hiding in the bottom of the bowl. Add the almond extract, the egg, and the cherry liqueur, if using. Beat until smooth. Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Mix on low until just combined. If the dough feels sticky, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Using a cookie scoop (4 teaspoon capacity) portion 24 level scoops of dough on the parchment sheets. Alternatively use a slightly heaped tablespoon to scoop. Roll the dough into balls between your palms and return them to the baking sheets. Press a maraschino cherry in the center of each ball. Refrigerate the cookies on the sheets for 30 minutes.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the cookies are well puffed and fragrant. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets completely.
Place the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the maraschino cherry juice.
Pipe or spoon the frosting onto a cookie and immediately sprinkle with nonpareils, if using. This frosting sets quickly, so pipe and sprinkle each cookie as you work.
Store cookies in the refrigerator for longevity. Bring to room temperature before serving.
These cookies are deeply chocolaty with a slight chew from the almond paste. The middles are soft and moist around the maraschino cherry. The glaze is rich and sets quickly like fudge. Yield is approximately 22-24 cookies using a level cookie scoop.
Canned sweetened condensed milk is used in the glaze. Condensed milk is thick, viscous, and sweet. Be sure to get the right canned milk. Canned evaporated milk is thin and pourable, which is not the correct milk.
The cookie recipe is adapted from Food Network, with a Taste of Home chocolate glaze.