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.