Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies

Dark Chocolate, Dried Cherries & Toasted Pecans – all in one cookie!

Years ago, during a visit to Seattle, I fell in love with Chukar Cherries. More specifically, I fell in love with their dried cherries. So much so, I may have been gently escorted away from the free sample basket at the Pike Place Market.

Since then, I have tried to incorporate more dried cherries into my life, especially (it seems) when paired with dark chocolate. I made these cherry chocolate chip scones back in 2010. They were really tasty.

But the tide took a turn last year when my friend Kirsten sent me a box of Michigan cherries. Dried cherries. That’s when I took a step back and said, “Hold on. Michigan grows cherries, too?” That’s when Kirsten confirmed that yes, Michigan does indeed grow cherries. Really spectacular, gorgeous tart red cherries. And I fell in love all over again.

My first box of Michigan cherries – from The Cherry Republic

Last month, as part of our One Kitchen Many Hearts box exchange, Kirsten struck again by including another bag of dried cherries from Shoreline Fruits. They’re from her neck of the woods. Have mercy! They are world class – with a perfect balance of tart and sweet, dried yet plump. Now I’m not trying to start a war between the states, but I think Michigan cherries may just edge out Washington state cherries. Granted, it has been a few years since I’ve had a Washington dried cherry, and if the fine folks at Chukar want to send me a box just to settle this once and for all, I’m open to a side-by-side tasting. Until then, here’s my latest ode to the dried cherry. Paired with chocolate; as it should be.

NanaBread’s Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies:
(makes approximately 36 cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup extra-dark chocolate chips (I prefer Guittard)
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 cup dried cherries, chopped

Pre-heat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts until fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well combined. Reducing the mixer to low speed, blend in the chocolate chips, toasted pecans and dried cherries. If you’re using a hand mixer, you may want to stir them in by hand, as the dough will be thick.

Oh, that dough… this would be great as brownies, too.

I like to bake cookies on those silicone baking mats, but if you don’t have them, line your baking sheet with parchment paper. I also like to use a medium-size ice cream scoop to shape my cookies. I absolutely love how perfectly uniform they turn out with a scoop. Don’t worry; you can also use a spoon. Drop golfball-size dough balls onto prepared sheets, approximately 3″ apart.

The key to perfectly uniform cookies – an ice cream scoop.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending how ‘done’ you like them. For soft chewy cookies, bake closer to 10 minutes. For cookies that are soft in the center and crispy around the edges, bake closer to the 12 minute mark. Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove to parchment or waxed paper to finish cooling.

From there, you’re just a cold glass of milk away from a perfect cherry-laden fudge bliss cookie coma.

Do you have a favorite dried fruit you cook with? Coconut, blueberries, pineapple, figs, prunes or something tropical? I’d love to hear what inspires you. Feel free to include links to recipes in your comments. I’m always looking for something new to try or Pin. Please do share!

Recipe adapted from: http://zestycook.com/a-taste-of-heaven-double-dark-chocolate-cookies/

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35 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes

35 responses to “Dark Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies

  1. Whoa. This looks fabulous.
    I do believe my mouth is watering just by looking at it. Cherries and chocolate together?
    Paradise.

  2. I’ve been wanting to make chocolate cookies, and I do believe these are it. Well done NanaBread, well done. So much for the summer #lose10pounds!! :)

  3. gapgrad

    These look incredible. You know who would really love these? My mom. She loves cherries and she loves pecans…and of course she loves chocolate. I’ll have to make them for her the next time we visit! You know what I would do with these? Make a giant cookie and eat it warm, with vanilla bean icecream on top. P’zookie style ;). Excuse me please while I wipe off my drool from the keyboard…
    PS I am really glad to know lots of folks are still enjoying cherries from Michigan…some of my husband’s family from MI was visiting with us last week, and telling us how the blueberry and cherry crops are suffering due to the unseasonable heat they’ve had this year.

    • If you’re pressed for time, these would also make great bar cookies. Get it? Pressed… bar cookies. Seriously, they would be just as good pressed into a 13″ x 9″ pan and baked as bar cookies or brownies. That would also make them easier to pack and/or ship. If you make them for your mom, you’ll have to let me know what she thought. Be forewarned – they are super fudgy. I hadn’t heard Michigan was suffering any problems with blueberry or cherry crops. How sad. Reminds me of last year’s drought in Texas and what it did to our peaches and pecans. I can vouch for the fact that this year’s dried Michigan cherries are delicious, so I encourage cherry lovers to support those growers and order some soon. They’re fabulous.

  4. Kat

    True Story: When you remarked on the batter also being great as brownies, I was mentally filling in, “Great for eating straight from the bowl.” But that’s just me.

    • Not gonna lie, Kat. I had more than one bite straight from the bowl and it was yummy. I also thought this would make a great cookie dough ice cream stirred into a vanilla base. Not sure if that idea came from the devil on one shoulder or the angel on the other. :)

  5. Cindy

    Those look amazing. Two of my favorites, cherries and chocolate!!!

  6. Oh, man! Those cookies should just be called All Great Things because that is what they are full of! More is definitely better. So now I’m thinking brownies with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.

  7. You do ship to the East Coast, right? WOW!!! These look phenomenal, Jeanne! I have always loved the chocolate cherry thing….but chewy chocolatey cookies with chewy sweet/tart cherries may be more than I can bear! Scrumptious!!! : )

    • Hahaha… for you, Anne, anything! I love a good chocolate/cherry combination. Also chocolate/almond, chocolate/almond/cherry and/or cherry/almond. So basically, any of those three things, in any combination. I’m so thankful for those lovely Michigan cherries. If not for them, I’d still be in the midst of my coconut obsession. Which reminds me that a good coconut/almond combination is also fabulous, as is coconut/almond/chocolate. I have issues, don’t I?

  8. These sound delightful!

  9. Shari

    I am totally hung up on dried cherries too. I buy the sweetened tart cherries at Costco, and for dried bing cherries, I order them from nutsonline. I plan on checking out ‘The Cherry Republic’ as soon as I finish this comment. I haven’t used them in a chocolate cookie yet, however I have used them in granola bars, and made dried cherry chocolate clusters and bark. Amen.

    • Hi, Shari! It’s been a cherry kind of summer for me, but I love them all the time and with my whole heart. :) The two brands I’ve gotten from Kirsten in Michigan were both spectacular. You really need to try them since you’re a cherry lover. If you whip them up into chocolate cookies, you’ll have to let me know what you thought. And if it’s not my recipe, I hope you’ll share the one you choose so I can add another one to my repertoire!

  10. Mmmm, I shouldn’t have read this hungry!!
    I love to cook with all kinds of sweet things–but now that you mention it, I haven’t baked with FIGS in a long time! That used to be a favorite.
    Thanks for this deliciousness…and happy summer baking!

    • I have never really been a fig eater. Didn’t grow up eating them, except for the occasional Fig Newton. I should give them a try again. One of my favorites (that I don’t eat often enough) are dates. One of my favorite versions was the “Date With Fate” smoothies we consumed on vacation in Kauai. Man, were those spectacular!

  11. These look decedent! I looooove a good chocolate cookie and what better pairing then cherries!

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  14. April

    These look amazing! How would you make it into a Christmas cookie in a jar?

    • Hi, April!
      I’d put the sugar in the jar first and tap the jar on a dish towel it to make it settle in the bottom snugly. Then I’d sift the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt & soda) together and put them in the jar, again tapping the jar to settle it in. Then I’d layer in the chocolate chips, then pecans, and top with the dried cherries. From there, you can attach a card with the recipe and instructions to add the butter & extracts to complete the recipe. Don’t forget to include baking temp & time on the instruction card. And because I love a decorated jar, I’d hole punch the recipe/instructions and find a cute ribbon with cherries on it to tie the card to the jar.

      Hope that helps! Your friends & family are so lucky.
      -Jeanne

      • April

        Thank you so much for your reply! I just baked these today and they are my favorite new recipe!

      • Aww…I’m so excited to hear that, April! Glad you like the recipe enough to share with your family & friends as jar gifts. You’ll have to let me know how they go over! I know I’d love to get a gift like that. -jeanne

  15. Greg

    The good quality cocoa powder, is Hershey’s unsweetened baking cocoa the same type?

    • Hi, Greg!
      When I reference high quality cocoa powder, I usually reach for Guittard or Valrhona (Dutch process cocoas). That said, the Hershey’s Natural cocoa is good, and I use their Special Dark for brownies and hot cocoa, so if you have Hershey’s on hand, go for it! Hope you like the cookies. -jeanne

      • April

        Good morning. So you are talking about Hershey’s unsweetened baking cocoa right? Or do they make a sweetened one?

      • Yes, April – unsweetened cocoa powder. My favorite from the Hershey’s line is the Special Dark unsweetened cocoa powder, but that’s just my personal preference. I’m a dark chocolate girl. -j

  16. April

    Do you think that all the ingredients will fit in a normal quart jar? Thanks

    • I think so, April. I’ve done a chocolate chip cookie mix in quart jars before, and it all fit. You might need to tap it down between layers, but it should fit. Good luck! Can’t wait to see what your recipients think of their gift jars. -jeanne

      • April

        By the way it all does not fit in a Quartz jar but at least I can make the recipe for me again:)

      • Nuts! I’m sorry it didn’t fit. They would have made awesome gifts. Another option would be to put the nuts & cherries in a short pint jar and stack them, but that means more jars and more expense. I like your idea, too….bake them and eat them all. (:

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