We love the combination of chocolate, cherry, and almond flavors. This chocolate cherry cookies recipe delivers all three. A crunchy, buttery, shortbread dough envelops all these flavors. This cookie recipe relies on maraschino cherry for an almondy-cherry flavor. With cheery red flecks, this easy recipe is perfect for the holiday season, valentine’s day, or really any day when you need a little pick-me-up.
A Short History of Maraschino Cherries
We have the Prohibition to thank for American-style neon red maraschino cherries. Maraschino cherries were first invented in Yugoslavia and Northern Italy in the 18th century. Merchants soaked marasca cherries in liquor to preserve them. Maraschino cherries made their way to the United States in the 19th century as an imported delicacy. They were served on fancy drinks and desserts. Soon, local manufacturers developed a version using Queen Anne cherries. They replaced the liquor with cheaper almond oil. At first, the FDA ruled that only true marasca cherries soaked in liquor could be labeled maraschino cherries. However, the Prohibition intervened. Liquor soaked cherries were no longer de rigueur or, frankly, legal. Henceforth the neon red almond-scented cherries we know and love became legally known in the U.S. as as maraschino cherries. You can usually find maraschino cherries in the canned good aisle of the grocery store.
Cookies, Cookies, Cookies
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Useful Tools for Making this Chocolate Cherry Cookie Recipe
Chocolate Cherry Cookies Recipe
- parchment paper
- silicone baking mat
- baking sheet
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 10 maraschino cherries drained, chopped, and dried on a paper towel. We don't recommend substituting fresh cherries here as they will be quite watery.
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips we prefer dark chocolate with the sweet cherries, but feel free to substitute milk or white chocolate chips if that's your jam
- In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
- Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extracts and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the maraschino cherry juice and beat for 1 minute on high.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. Sift the flour into the butter mixture. Return the bowl to the mixer and beat on low speed until a soft dough is formed.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. Stir in the chopped cherries and dark chocolate chunks into the cookie dough by hand.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Shape dough into a log and wrap it tightly in the plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- Heat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Cut the shortbread dough into half inch slices and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies in heated oven for 10-15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. The center of the cookie will still be quite pale.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Then, remove to a wire rack to fully cool.
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