Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies...2 ways

I have a secret...I kind of secretly like Valentine's Day.  I think it all stems from the fun of handing out valentines as a kid and well all of the chocolate as well as cinnamon hearts that were involved.  (I was never really a big fan of actually eating the conversation hearts though...) These days, I get fruit in the mail from my mom and hold out hope that my valentine will think up something special.  With my Valentine's day card in the mail to Scotland a couple of weeks ago, I thought I might spread a little Valentine's day cheer around the office.  So, with the boxes I had left over from the Grey Market last year, and these super cute tags my roommate gave me for Christmas I was set.  Plus, I owed Caroline and James a big thank you!  The rest of the cookies went to the office and were gone by early afternoon.  

To keep with my theme for February, I modified the recipe just a bit and used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread in place of the butter.  These cookies came out crisp around the edges while staying soft and chewy in the middle.  Plus, cherries and chocolate have always been a match made in heaven.  Oh, did I mention you can totally make these gluten-free?  I actually split my wet ingredients before adding in the flour and made regular and gluten-free cookies. These cookies are a delicious twist on a classic, and definitely worth a try!  Enjoy!

All wrapped up and ready to be delivered.  Caroline and I discovered, like me, she enjoys the base of chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips, so she received the cookies 3 ways.

Laying it all out: (from top left) vanilla extract, salt, semi-sweet chocolate chips, dried tart cherries, white sugar, light brown sugar, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, baking soda, egg + egg yolk & flour.

On the left...Gluten-free Cookie Dough
On the right....Regular Cookie Dough

Up close and personal with the gluten-free...Oh wait you can't tell the difference?...Good

Regular cookies dough...check out those cherries.

Cookies fresh out of the oven, and smelling amazing.  Did I eat three of these...maybe.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies: (recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated)
*makes approximately 3 dozen cookies
3/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, at room temperature (or 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 cups all purpose flour (to make gluten-free substitute with 2 cups Pamela's Ultimate all purpose baking mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 tart dried cherries

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened Earth Balance and the sugars until fully combined.

3.  Then whisk in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.

4.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. 

5.  Next in two additions, whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  You might have to use a spatula towards the end to fold in the remaining flour, just until combined.  Then fold in the chocolate chips and cherries.

6.  Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop or a tablespoon, spoon dough out on to parchment paper lined cookie sheet approximately 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.  Bake in the center of the oven for 12-14 minutes.  (If you are making these are gluten-free cookies, bake for 13-15 minutes.  This dough just needs a couple more minutes.)  Repeat process until all cookies are baked.  Enjoy!

Here are the health facts per serving: (1 cookie is a serving)
135 calories per serving
Total Fat 6.1g
    Saturated Fat 2.4g
    Trans fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 84mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.4g
    Dietary Fiber 0.8g
    Sugar 11.8g
Protein 1.5g

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