Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies

I had never tried a baking emulsion until last week. One of my best baking/blogging friends sent me a bottle of lemon emulsion and I really want to try it, but I am waiting for warmer, Springier, more lemony type, weather. So with my curiosity about baking emulsions piqued and an extra twenty dollars floating around my bag, I ran into Home Goods (because of it’s reputation for carrying a wide assortment of discounted baking emulsions) to see what I could find. I didn’t hit the jackpot, but the trip was worthwhile. I found a bottle of vanilla bean paste (another thing I have been meaning to try) and almond emulsion.

When I got home, I opened the bottle of almond emulsion- just to smell it- and it reminded me of something I haven’t thought about in years. Amaretto. Back in my college, just starting to discover alcohol, but not sophisticated enough to try something that doesn’t taste like dessert days, one of my favorites was Amaretto and cream. I know- I’m trying not to think about how many calories I consumed in an average night. But there is something about the memory of that flavor that I wanted to try to capture in an actual dessert (now that I focus on EATING my calories instead of DRINKING them). And there is something about approaching Valentines Day that makes me want to cover the whole thing in chocolate.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies (Ellie's Bites)So- firstly: is the picture a little busy? I got carried away with the Valentines features on PicMonkey (almost carried away enough to sign up for the paid package). Secondly: I’m going to share the recipe I used,because it tasted REALLY good, however something happened in the baking process which caused the surface to bump and crack a little. I’m not sure what it was and I’ll play around a little the next time I can make cookies for fun and see if I can find the issue. Since they are covered in chocolate, the surface of the cookie didn’t matter much. In fact, I also used some cookies from this batch for a few upcoming projects and the surface didn’t even effect the royal icing. SO it might not even matter.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies (adapted from LilaLoa’s Vanilla Variation)

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter- room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp almond emulsion
  • 2 large eggs-room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (or semisweet chocolate finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (finely chopped in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries (cut into small pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, line your baking sheets with parchment
  2. In a standing mixer, beat the butter until it is soft- scrape the sides of the bowl if needed
  3. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy
  4. Add the vanilla and almond emulsion, then add each egg beating between additions
  5. Add baking powder and salt, mix until combined
  6. Add flour- one cup at a time and mix until combined.
  7. Using about a quarter of the dough at a time, knead the dough until a smooth ball forms (you may need to coat your surface with a bit of flour, but the dough shouldn’t be too sticky). Roll out the dough to 3/8 inch and cut out your shapes.
  8. Bake for about 9-12 minutes depending on your oven. I checked after nine and needed another 1 1/2.
  9. When the cookies are finished, take them out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with about 1 tbsp chocolate chips (depending on the size of your shape)
  10. Let the chocolate sit for about 2-3 minutes until it starts to melt then use an off set spatula to spread the chocolate.
  11. Immediately drop on some cherries and chopped almonds.
  12. Let the cookie sit until the chocolate hardens and the cookie cools completely.

Chocolate Cherry Almond cookies Collage

If you let these sit for a day or two, in an airtight container, the cookie will get really soft and the flavors of the chocolate, cherry, and almond will marry. In this case, it’s okay to have a marriage of three.

Chocolate Almond Cherry Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

Yes, that heart bokeh is one of the PicMonkey effects.

 Simply Sweets by Honeybee

Birthday Cookies For A Special Birthday

When a friend of my parents contacted me to ask if I could make cookies for her mother’s birthday party, of course I said yes! She would need a total of sixty.

She really liked the hearts I made for Ellie, so she asked for some of those with her mother’s name. Her favorite color is lavender, so lavender hearts it was. She also wanted some shamrocks. So I made some shamrock cookies, and some fancy cookies with some lavender polka dots, and a shamrock. Twenty of each style. No problem!!

She was going to pick them up from me on Thursday (yesterday).

So, Monday, she calls me at work to ask for seventy five cookies instead, because she got a few more RSVPs. No problem!

Tuesday morning she calls to say there were a few more RSVPs, can we make it eighty five? No problem (I made ninety five just to be safe.)

The moral of the story…..

NO ONE RSVPs “no” to a 100th birthday party. (And apparently those who said they couldn’t be there changed their plans to be able to go!)

Happy 100th Birthday, Agnes! Thank you for allowing me to bake for such a special occasion!

 

*****Update*****

It occurred to me later, that it may be insensitive to say that I was able to whip up an extra 35 cookies with three days notice. So I just want to add that I do not have a business baking cookies, I only do it for fun, family, and friends. I didn’t have any other cookies to bake this week, and I really didn’t have much going on other than my typical weekly stuff and some extra Girl Scout things. I was STILL up til 1-2AM finishing up! Please don’t take this to mean that anyone with a baking business and many clients should be able to squeeze in so many additional cookies on short notice! I love all of the cookie friends I have made, and I know how hard they work to manage their businesses and make beautiful baked goods at the same time! OK, I feel better, lol!

I Heart….

So it has been so long since I have posted anything, that I almost forgot my password to WordPress. Whoops!

These cookies were inspired by a conversation I had with my almost two-year-old son. It went something like this-

Me: “I love you, Ben!!!!” (kiss kiss kiss hug hug hug….)

Ben: (looking over my shoulder) “ELMO!!!!!!” (Squirms out of my arms to get the book he spotted on the floor)

Hmmm. I rank somewhere below Elmo.

Definitely below Cookie Monster. And some days, I feel like I even come after the Mouse from “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”.

Oh well. He loved me enough when I gave him this:

And, of course, for Ellie who tells me she loves me a million times a day (and not always followed by “can I have…?”) I made a version for her, too.

I know she loves me more than she loves Hello Kitty. But I think I still rank a little lower than Rebecca, her American Girl Doll.

Someday they’ll appreciate me. I think I learned to appreciate my parents somewhere around my junior year of college.

I am linking this post to SugarBelle’s Valentines Roundup

I am linking this post to Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons

Personal Style

When you started making cookies, did you start out with a style of your own, or did you see so many great cookies out there with such a wide range of styles, that you wanted to be them all? Me too. I mean, be them all. I wanted to make really cool puffy and full looking cookies like SugarBelle, and I wanted to make gorgeous detailed cookies like Ali Bee’s, and I wanted to make unreal cookies like JP Creatibles, and for a while I outlined everything in black like something I had seen on Sweetopia. And the list could go on and on forever. In the beginning, I just flat out copied other cookies I saw and liked (if you ever see one on FaceBook or Flickr, please remind me who did it originally and  I will be sure to go back and give credit).

Anyway, I have a point! As much as we would like to make cookies EXACTLY like our cookie idol, and sometimes like more than one of them, at some point we find our own style and that’s when we know we have it in us to make some gorgeous cookies.

A few months ago, a friend asked me to make some baby cookies for a shower. She gave me NO information, just that they didn’t know the baby’s gender, there was no theme, and no particular color scheme. Then she said, “just do whatever you want, I know they’ll be great” (like she always says, lol). So I mixed up some white, yellow, and green icing, with no real plan in mind, I thought I’d make them white with some cute wet on wet green and yellow designs. Once I started, I HATED them. I cried. I almost threw them out. But I let them dry, and later piped on some details in white. Then I couldn’t stop looking at them. I LOVED them, I almost couldn’t give them up!

I did the same thing with some of my Christmas cookies. I found a swirly tree design I liked on Pinterest, and planned to pipe it onto a tree shaped cookie. At the last minute I decided to pipe on some “lights” using wet-on-wet.

And, besides the red which bled into the green, I loved these, too!

So, even though I didn’t make any New Years Resolutions, (I have so many short and long term goals that I try to maintain all year)  I decided that this year, I would perfect my personal style, and stop trying to be others. I’m not saying that I won’t occasionally follow one of SugarBelle’s awesome tutorials or try to attempt to recreate one of JP Creatibles’ unreal designs. But my goal is to work on my own thing.

So for my first step, I am working on the art of piping. I’ll be doing a lot of piping practice and sharing my pictures here. I really hope to get some feed back and advice!!!

Here is my first set of Valentine Cookies. Can you guess who they are for (rather who was staring at me from the other side of the breakfast bar saying “write my name on that one!”)???

Oh, and I also want to work on my photography skills. I took five pictures of these two cookies and these were the only ones even worth using. So advice there is also welcome.

So do you have any resolutions? Have you found a style you like best?