It’s true—the smell of batch after batch of cookies baking in the oven always brings me back to holiday memories. Forget fresh snow! I’d rather be engulfed by a delicious fog of powdered sugar. Today is National Bake Cookies Day and I’m celebrating with a cozy day in the kitchen. My go-to cookie recipe has California roots, but I’ve found that a using produce of Oregon’s Washington County (like cherries and hazelnuts from local farms and markets) takes this confection to the next level.
Cherry Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit July 2008 and Icing on the Cake
• 1 cup dried tart cherries (about 5 1/2 ounces)
• 1/3 cup cherry liquor (I used Heering)
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
• 1/2 cup of sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 6 1/2 ounces)
• 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (about 6 1/2 ounces)
• 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 375° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Bring cherries, cherry liquor, maraschino cherry juice, and water to boil in small sauce pan. Remove from heat and let cherries soak for 15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 a tablespoon of the liquid in a small bowl and drain the rest. Pat cherries dry and set aside.
Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs and extracts, beat to blend. Add tablespoon of reserved cherry liquid. Add flour mixture and beat on low. Stir in cherries, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, hazelnuts. Cover bowl and chill in fridge for 3 hours.
After removing dough from the fridge, scoop tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies one sheet at a time until edges are light golden brown (11-13 minutes). Turn baking sheets halfway through cooking time. Transfer to rack and cool.
Makes about two dozen cookies.
P.S. Not a baker? You can still treat yourself with a cookie from one of our stellar bakeries.