These cookies won first place in Better Homes & Garden 1981 Prize Tested Recipes recipe contest, and readers still request it. Mine don't look exactly like the picture in the BH&G All-Time Favorites Cookbook -- the frosting I think was a tad too thin and baked down over the cherries, exposing the cherries. So I reduced the added liquid in the recipe below so that hopefully it won't happen. Nevertheless, these are very good -- chocolatey with a rich chocolate frosting and then there's that cherry. They make up quickly, too, even though they look complicated. I made a few changes, which I've noted below. I did have one problem: the recipe stated a 10-oz. jar of maraschino cherries which I bought, only to find that there weren't enough cherries to do all the cookies. So I cut the cherries in half. The cherries in this cookie are the star, so be sure you get a jar big enough so that you don't have to cut them in half.
Chocolate Cherry Cookies
INGREDIENTS: 1-1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, lightly spooned and swept
(I added the 2 Tbsp. flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. Stevia Plus)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules (decaf is ok)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 tsp. coffee brandy, such as Kahlua (I used Samosa brand) divided use
44-48 maraschino cherries (a 10-oz. jar has only 30 cherries)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate pieces (1 cup)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
DIRECTIONS: Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting. In a medium bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and whisk well; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter for a minute or two, then add sugar and beat till well combined and fluffy. Add the egg, coffee granules, vanilla, and 2 tsp. brandy and beat well, scraping bottom and sides as needed. Gradually stir in flour mixture till everything is incorporated into a soft dough. Chill for about a half hour if you have the time.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. With your thumb, press down center of each ball. Drain cherries, reserving juice. Place a cherry in the center of each cookie.
Prepare frosting: In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate pieces and condensed milk. Heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in the remaining 1 tsp. coffee brandy and 1 tsp. reserved cherry juice. (If frosting is too thick to spread, thin it with additional cherry juice, but you don't want it too thin or it will bake down off the cherries.) Spoon 1/2 - 1 tsp. of the frosting over each cherry, spreading to cover the cherry.
Bake cookies 10-14 minutes or until edges are firm. (Mine took 13 minutes.) Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Yield: 48 cookies (I got 44 cookies.)