Cherries Jubilee Cookies

September 24:National Cherries Jubilee Day

We avoid flambéing our foods because we do not want to cause a fire in our complex and upset our neighbors on either side of our walls. So we find recipes that can be adapted for the food holiday, like these cherries jubilee cookies for National Cherries Jubilee Day. They are soft and crumbly and uniquely spiced. The main “jubilee” ingredients are the chewy dried cherries that have been soaked in cherry-flavored brandy—without the flambé! Cherries jubilee is often served with vanilla ice cream and these cookies would be a good accompaniment as well as a teatime treat. Cheers to cherries jubilee cookies on National Cherries Jubilee Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from “Country Home Magazine”)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup brandy (we used Kirshwasser)
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white (plus more for coating the cookies)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

Directions

In a saucepan, combine the dried cherries with the brandy. Simmer for a minute or two, pressing down on the cherries to release their juices to mix with the brandy. Remove from heat and let stand for half an hour. Drain and reserve two tablespoons of the liquid.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar. Add the whole egg and egg yolk. Stir in the two tablespoons of reserved cherry liquid. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with Chinese five spice powder.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until a sticky dough is formed. Fold in the cherries and blend thoroughly. Scoop and roll into one-inch balls. Place at least an inch apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest on the cookie sheet for about five minutes. Roll the warm cookies in a bowl of granulated sugar. Cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: Approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Notes

  • The original recipe calls for rolling the unbaked cookie dough balls in sugar. But they tasted better when they were rolled after baking to give a nicer texture and taste.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing cherries.

No-Churn Cherry Ice Cream

Cherry Ice Cream

 February: National Cherry Month

There was a little ice cream shop behind the tall fence of our Illinois townhome. We would have to walk down the pathway and around the back of the businesses to get to the ice cream shop. Then we discovered a shortcut when the fence had a few broken planks. It seemed the fence was vandalized or worn from the extreme weather—or a combination of both. On our summer strolls, we would take the shortcut to the ice cream shop before the fence got fixed and were able to get to our destination quicker and enjoy our ice cream. We would order our favorite flavors (chocolate and butter pecan) often but cherry ice cream was a close second! On our way back home, we walked off the weight from our indulgences.

Now we do not have the convenience of walking to an ice cream shop nearby. So we make our own ice cream at home. When cherries are in season, we take advantage of the fresh fruit and prepare it in a no-churn recipe. This cool treat warms our hearts during the month of Valentines and is perfect during National Cherry Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Bon Appetit) 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ – 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (cold)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Wash and dry the cherries. Pit and cut each cherry in half. Place them in a saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thick and syrupy (around 8-10 minutes). Remove from the heat and cool completely.

cherryicecreamsteps1

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk with the almond extract.

cherryicecreamsteps2

Gently stir in the cooled cherry mixture. Do not over mix; just fold until there is a ripple color effect and the cherries are distributed evenly in the cream. Place the mixture into a loaf pan or freezer safe container. Cover and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer. Let stand for a few minutes and scoop into cones or dessert dishes. Add a cherry on top (optional).

cherryicecreamsteps3

Notes

  • Eat cherry ice cream during the summer when July is also National Ice Cream Month.
  • Search our blog for other ice cream recipes.

 

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

February: Washington’s Birthday/Lincoln’s Birthday/Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)

The first president of the United States of America is often associated with cherries. George Washington chopping down a cherry tree as a child and admitting the truth that he did it is actually a myth. His name is also linked to the state that is the largest supplier of the fruit in the country. The close dates of the birthdays of Washington (February 22, 1732) and another great and reputably honest president, Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809), are observed together annually as Presidents’ Day on the third Monday of February.

Pretty please, with a cherry on top, celebrate this national holiday with chocolate cherry cola cupcakes. We chose to make this dessert for this blog post because it is both National Cherry Month and National Chocolate Month as well. Two fabulous flavors, two presidential birthdays, one delightful dessert! Indulge!

Recipe

(Adapted from Betty Crocker)

For the chocolate cherry cola cupcakes

  • 2 jars of maraschino cherries (with or without stems)
  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 cup cherry cola carbonated beverage
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 eggs

Directions

Drain the cherries, reserving some of the juice for the frosting recipe and also saving around 30 cherries for the topping. Chop the remaining cherries into little pieces and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and moisten with cherry cola.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Add the oil, eggs and ¼ cup cherry juice. Mix well. Fold in the chopped cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Scoop batter no more than 2/3 full into cupcake papers lining a muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 30 cupcakes.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

For the cherry buttercream frosting

  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon cherry flavor/extract
  • 4+ tablespoons maraschino cherry juice (reserved from above)
  • red food coloring (optional)

Directions

Cream the butter with the sugar until smooth. Add the cherry extract and mix well.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Tint to the desired shade of pink with a few drops of red food coloring (optional). Thin the frosting to spreadable/piping consistency with the cherry juice. Frost the cupcakes (or use tip 1M and a pastry bag to pipe swirls).

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

For the cherry topping and chocolate ganache drizzles

  • maraschino cherries, dried
  • 4 ounces chocolate (we used one bar of Baker’s brand chocolate)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Directions

Wash and dry the remaining 30 maraschino cherries, gently squeezing out the excess juice. Dry on paper towels. Melt the chocolate. Stir in the cream until smooth and well blended.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Allow the ganache to cool and thicken (this may take several minutes, depending on the room temperature; may speed up the process by refrigerating but watch carefully for the consistency). Pour a spoonful of the ganache over the chocolate and allow to drip down the sides. Top with a maraschino cherry.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes 

Notes

  • Many boxed cake mixes used to by 18.25 ounces. Nowadays they are 15.25-16.5 ounces. Add six tablespoons of flour to the cake mix to compensate for the difference.
  • Double the recipe for the frosting and ganache if decorating the cupcakes in a full and fancy style.
  • The reserved maraschino cherry juice could be substituted for the cherry cola, kirsch or water.

 

Cherry Popovers

Cherry Popovers

September 1: National Cherry Popover Day

We admit that we spent a little money on a few specialized kitchen gadgets and baking pans over the years for fun cooking projects. Highlander bought a cherry pitter so he could make cherry pies with fresh fruit instead of canned filling. Islander bought a popover pan so she could bake popovers for breakfast or brunch. While both items have come in handy, they are not necessary to make cherry popovers. Use a knife to slice the seeds out of the cherries and use a muffin tin/cupcake pan to bake the popovers. The cherry popovers turn out tasty and terrific either way! Prepare some popovers with a fresh cherry filling for National Cherry Popover Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Care2)

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • powdered sugar

Directions

Pit the cherries and set aside. Alternatively, slice out the seeds and dry the cherries with paper towels.

Cherry Popovers

Melt the butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and milk. Pour in the melted butter and stir until smooth. Beat the eggs into the batter. Fold in the cherries. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.

Cherry Popovers

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter the wells and top of a 6-cup popover pan (or a 12-cup muffin tin/cupcake pan). Fill the wells with the batter about ¾ to the top, leaving room for it to rise and “pop over” the top of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the popovers onto paper towels to soak up any grease. Arrange them on a plate or bowl and generously sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve hot.

Cherry Popovers

Notes

  • The batter yields enough for 8 cherry popovers.
  • Instead of cherries, use blueberries as a popover filling. See the sweeter recipe for blueberry popovers on National Blueberry Popover Day on March 10.
  • Try cherry turnovers as an alternative to cherry popovers. See the recipe on National Cherry Turnover Day on August 28.
  • Search our blog for a bunch of other cherry recipes.

Cherry Turnovers

Cherry Turnovers

August 28: National Cherry Turnover Day

As an alternative to cherry pie or tarts, Highlander indulges in cherry turnovers once in a while. Like his favorite cherry pie pockets, these sweet snacks are portable and petite and an easy-to-make treat! These dessert dumplings are prepared with puff pastry encasing cherry pie filling. The technique is to “turn over” the puff pastry squares into triangular shapes, hence the name. Try this turnover recipe for a tasty pastry on National Cherry Turnover Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Group Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (17.25 ounces) frozen puff pastry (we used Pepperidge Farm brand)
  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, water or kirsch (cherry liqueur)

Directions

Thaw the frozen puff pastry according to the package directions. Unfold each sheet on a lightly floured surface. Lightly press finger to smooth out the folded creases. Cut each sheet into quarters for a total of eight squares. Drain the cherry pie filling in a colander.

Cherry Turnovers

Spoon the filling in the middle of each puff pastry square. Moisten the edges with egg wash. Turn over and fold the pastry square in half to make a triangle; repeat for all.

Cherry Turnovers

Seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Cut small slits with a knife to vent the turnovers. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been lightly greased with cooking spray. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and puffed. Remove from the oven.

Cherry Turnovers

Meanwhile, in a bowl, make the glaze by stirring the milk/water/kirsch into the powdered sugar until smooth. Place in a zip-top plastic bag. Snip a small hole at the point of the bag. Drizzle the glaze over the cherry turnovers. Let set slightly. Serve while warm.

Cherry Turnovers

Notes

  • Instead of drizzling glaze over the baked turnovers, try sprinkling a bit of turbinado/coarse sugar or sliced almonds on top of the egg wash before baking them.
  • Check out other cherry recipes by searching our blog.

Cherry Dump Cobbler

 Cherry Dump Cobbler

May 17: National Cherry Cobbler Day

On some of our road trips, especially having driven through Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylania, we occasionally saw some Amish people out and about in the smaller towns. Like many others, we are curious about their modest clothing and simple lifestyle. They seem to work hard—and pray hard—and we admire their faithful fervor.

We once stopped into an Amish oak furniture store to see some of their beautiful woodcrafts. But we also enjoyed browsing through the food shelves as well. They had organic fruit preserves, fruit butter, fruit pie filling (which we bought and saved for this particular recipe post) and many other interesting food products. With the cherry pie filling that we bought from Amish Wedding, we dumped it into a baking dish for a very easy Cherry Dump Cobbler recipe for National Cherry Cobbler Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Cooks.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 32-ounce can/jar reduced sugar or sugar-free cherry pie filling (we used Amish Wedding brand)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup sugar (we use less than this original amount for our tastes)
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

In a 13×9-inch casserole or large baking pan, melt the butter. In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and milk until the batter is smooth. 

Cherry Dump Cobbler

Pour into the casserole or baking pan over the hot butter. Dump the cherry pie filling over the batter and spread it out evenly. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 or more minutes or until the top is golden brown. The batter will rise over the cherry pie filling to create a cobbled and lumpy appearance. Remove from the oven. Let cool slightly. Serve warm or à la mode (optional).

Cherry Dump Cobbler

Notes

Cherry Blossom Cake

Cherry Blossom Cake

March 27: National Cherry Blossom Festival

“Haru ga kita…now it is spring time!” Islander would practice singing the bilingual version of the traditional Japanese children’s song (music by Teiichi Okano and lyrics by Tatsuyuki Takano, written in 1918) with fellow kindergarten classmates for her elementary school’s annual May Day Festival. Her Daddy still fondly remembers his little girl warbling “…flowers are blooming…” at home (our house was right across the street from her school in Hawaii).

Those flowers most likely refer to sakura (Japanese cherry blossoms), which signify that spring has come. Not only is the season celebrated in Japan but also nationally in Washington, D.C., and internationally in Macon, Georgia. Festivals begin around late March. At the capital, where we have visited numerous times, March 27, 1912, is the date commemorating the gift of cherry trees that Japan gave to the United States as a growing gesture of friendship.

We made a cherry blossom cake to share with friends at a prayer group and to remember and support the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Please pray for Japan and all the nations affected by the natural disasters.

Recipe

(Adapted from FoxNews 11)

For the cherry cola cake

  • ¾ cup cherry cola
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cherry extract
  • 2 tablespoons grenadine (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar, divided use
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cherry cola, egg yolks, oil, vanilla and cherry extracts and grenadine until frothy. Add ¾ cup sugar and mix well. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture into the wet mixture until a smooth batter is formed. Set aside.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until peaks form. Add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and whip until glossy. Fold the meringue into the cherry cola batter.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Pour the batter into two, greased 8×3-inch round cake pans. There will be enough batter to fill two 6×2-inch round cake pans as well. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick. The cake tops will be dry but soft. Remove from the oven and cool the cakes completely.

Cherry Blossom Cake

For the cherry-flavored whipped cream frosting

(Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns by Anne Byrn)

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cherry extract

Directions

In a chilled mixing bowl, beat the cream until peaks form. Whisk in the sugar. Mix in the cherry extract.  Use to frost the cake.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Assemble the cake by smearing a bit of the frosting on a cake board to act as an adhesive. Place one layer of the cake on top of the cake board. Generously spread frosting on top, allowing it to overflow on the sides. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting. Spread more frosting on top and even out the sides with a spatula. Repeat for the smaller cake. With the leftover frosting, pipe shell borders to finish the edges (optional).

Cherry Blossom Cake

For the cherry blossom decorations

  • Fondant
  • Pink food coloring
  • Chocolate, melted
  • White tube gel
  • Silver nonpareils

Directions

Take a small portion of fondant from the package. Re-seal tightly and store the rest of the fondant for future use. Knead the fondant until pliable. Tint it pink, incorporating the food coloring until it is well blended into a solid color.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Make a ball, flatten into a disc and roll out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out little cherry blossom flowers. Re-roll the fondant as necessary to make more flowers. With each flower, place on a sponge pad. Use the ball tool to make an indentation in the middle. Set aside to dry.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Make the branches out of melted chocolate. Place waxed paper over branch patterns (hand-drawn or clip art).

Cherry Blossom Cake

Pipe out melted chocolate by tracing the branch pattern. Remove the pattern from underneath the waxed paper. Let the chocolate cool until solid, refrigerating as necessary. Carefully peel off the chocolate branches and position them on the side and top of the cake.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Decorate randomly with fondant flowers. Dab a little gel in the center of a flower. Put a silver nonpareil in the middle, using a toothpick to guide it in place. Refrigerate the cake in a covered container to set. Bring to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Cherry Blossom Cake

Notes

  • Listen to the tune of “Haru Ga Kita” as well as see the lyrics, translations and more about the traditional Japanese children’s song about the spring season here.
  • The Japanese are very proud of their beautiful cherry blossoms that a traditional folk song bears its name in the title twice. It is called “Sakura Sakura.”
  • Grenadine is a red syrup used to sweeten and add flavor to beverages. Look for it in the liquor aisle of the supermarket.
  • Like the cherry blossoms, the cake has a delicate pastel shade from the cherry cola, grenadine and cherry extract. Feel free to add a few drops of pink or red food coloring to batter for a more vibrant hue. For a stronger cherry flavoring, add another teaspoon of cherry extract to the batter and/or frosting.