The excuse for making these Black Forest Cookies (and a gluten-free version) was that I needed to use the leftover juice from a jar of Aldi Morello cherries. I always save it thinking I'll use it for an interesting drink, but that never happens and it just sits there. But not this time! Yesterday I used it to plump some dried cherries, then put a tablespoon of the plumping juice in the double chocolate batter.
Cookies With Melted Chocolate
This is a spinoff of an older double chocolate chip cookie recipe by the great Carole Water, and it's a good one for the times because it calls for quite a bit of melted chocolate and not much butter. In the past, double chocolate cookies made with cocoa powder and butter would have been more economical. Now it seems less expensive to use more melted chocolate. Of course it all depends on where you shop and what's around. I actually have a really great double chocolate cookie recipe that calls for I Can't Believe It's Not Butter straight out of the tub. You just never know what will work.
Gluten-Free Black Forest Cookies
As for this recipe, I tested it with all-purpose flour and with King Arthur's Measure for Measure gluten-free blend. Both versions were good, but they sure look different. Next time I'll test with the equivalent Pillsbury gluten-free blend, which I just bought and maybe one day some Bob's 1:1 Blend and Cup4Cup as well. I never thought gluten-free baking would be so exciting, but it's really interesting to see how these blends perform. Most are pretty good, except when it comes to yeast bread making and then all bets are off. You're better off making your own blend in that case.
Ingredient and Baking Notes
These are easy, but I have two recommendations. Do not use chocolate chips for the melted chocolate or the cookies won't spread right. Also, be mindful of the temperature of the ingredients. The creamed butter mixture should be slightly cool and the chocolate mixture just a tad warm. If the chocolate cools too much, the batter becomes quite stiff. It should be soft like a thick cupcake or muffin batter.
Black Forest Cookies
- ½ cup dried cherries or cherry flavored cranberries (feel free to use more or less to taste)
- ⅓ to ½ cup cherry juice or water or enough to soak the cherries
- 4 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (114 grams)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (56 grams)
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar (75 grams)
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar, light or dark okay (50grams)
- 1 large egg
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup all-purpose flour or a gluten-free blend (70 grams)
- 1 tablespoon Dutch unsweetened cocoa powder (6 grams)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt plus a small pinch
- 1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips or chopped semisweet or dark chocolate
- Soak the cherries for at least one hour or two (or overnight) in cherry juice or water.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate on high for 30 seconds; Stir well. Repeat until melted and smooth. If your microwave has lower power settings you can use 50% power and stir every 60 seconds. Set aside the melted chocolate aside to cool a little, but don't let it cool completely.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and both sugars until creamy and light, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the just-slightly- warm melted chocolate. After adding the chocolate, beat in exactly 1 tablespoon of the cherry juice (or water) you used for soaking the cherries. Drain the rest.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
- Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture and stir until blended, then stir in the drained cherries and the chocolate chunks.
- If baking immedialy preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
- Using a medium size cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough and arrange on baking sheets spacing 2 ½ inches apart. If baking later, arrange balls on a dinner plate lined with wax paper or plastic wrap. You can chill the dough until ready to bake. For very neat rounds, chill briefly then roll between your palms into very compact and smooth balls. Otherwise you can leave them rough.
- Bake one sheet at a time at 350 for about 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.