These are the cookies I was going for last week when I “accidentally” made my crisp chocolate wafers.
Here’s the thing with slice-and-bake cookies: they can be lifesavers during the holiday season, since the dough is meant to be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen.
When I had my “marathon cookie baking day” this weekend so that I can send boxes of cookies to my family and friends, slice-and-bake cookies saved me time (and freed up my mixing bowls!).
When we get invited to a friend’s for dinner last minute, I can offer to bring dessert and have some cookies ready in 30 minutes flat (adding 5 minutes for oven preheating).
When our new neighbors finally move in, I can pull together a plate of housewarming treats for them in no time at all.
And when Dan and I want cookies for dessert but I don’t want to make a whole batch, I can bake up a single pan (or half-pan) of cookies for us to enjoy fresh from the oven.
See? Slice-and-bake cookies are winners all around.
In this version, I baked a chocolate-almond dough a sprinkled it with cherry sugar. The result tastes like a chocolate-covered cherry, but instead of bright-red liquid gooey filling you get a tender, buttery cookie covered in pretty pink sugar.
Chocolate Cherry Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 T amaretto (optional)
Cherry sugar, for topping (recipe follows)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder.
With an electric or stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, almond extract and amaretto together until creamy. Add half of the flour mixture, stirring until completely mixed in. Add the rest of the flour and mix until a soft dough forms.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll each half into a 1″ thick log, wrapping tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a baking sheet. Cut the logs into 1/4″-thick slices. Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet spaced 2″ apart. Refrigerate any uncut dough until ready to use.
Bake at 350F for 16-20 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are just barely firm. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and sprinkling with the cherry sugar. Lightly press the sugar into the cookies so that it sticks. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Extra sugar is great on buttered toast or crepes!
Adapted from Food & Wine
Makes: approximately 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
1/4 cup dried Bing cherries (dried tart cherries would work as well)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pulse the cherries with 1/2 cup sugar in a food processor until the sugar is pink. Add the remainder of the sugar and process until well-mixed. Store in an airtight container and use within a week.