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Raise your hand if you own an ice cream maker.* That’s what I thought: a few people who remembered to add it to their wedding registries, maybe someone with an awesome sister who knows how much you love ice cream, but not everyone. Okay, now, you know how sometimes you love a certain kind of ice cream so much that you want to eat it all the time, but you don’t have an ice cream maker and, even if you did, it would be daunting to make? Well, if you said yes, and if your ice cream of choice is Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia, then you are going to love this recipe.

Today I made cookies, and they taste like Cherry Garcia ice cream. And it was kind of an accident!

When I made cherry-amaretto jam a few weeks back, I bought a giant bag of dried tart cherries from Costco and used less than half. Since then, I have been wondering what to do with the rest. I throw some in my oatmeal in the morning, sometimes in with my yogurt, but that only uses a few tablespoons at a time, and I had almost 2 cups extra to use. My husband had a busy week at work, and I decided earlier today to make him some cookies as a yay-it’s-the-weekend treat; I had just determined to make chocolate cookies when I had a lightbulb moment (I may have yelled out and pointed my finger, but it’s okay, I work from home) and decided to make chocolate cookies with dried cherries in them. Because YUM.

So, I got out a favorite chocolate-peanut butter chip cookie recipe, figuring I could use it as a base. A few tweaks here, a change or two there, and I had a dark, thick dough studded with white chocolate chips & dried cherries. And then I smelled it. Whoa! Why does this smell so familiar? It was bugging me, trying to figure out what the cookies smelled like, so I had to take a little, tiny taste– don’t worry, my eggs are good quality– and my eyes bugged out, because it tastes just like Cherry Garcia. Awesome. I think it is something about the combination of chocolate, cherry & almond extract, but it is uncanny. The rest of the dough made it into the oven, and the cookies are even better after baking: chewy, chocolaty and with little kicks of cherry. So, next time you’re craving Ben & Jerry’s, don’t be bummed that you don’t own an ice cream maker– break out this recipe and make the next best thing! You might want to keep some dried cherries on hand, just in case.

Chocolate Cookies with Cherries and White Chocolate Chips

  • 10 T. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 c. flour
  • 6 T. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries
  • 1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper, or grease them, or use silicone liners.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Walk away if you need to, but let it get really well-combined. Add the egg and almond extract and mix again. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to the butter mixture slowly, so you don’t end up in a cloud of cocoa-flour, and eventually increase the mixer speed to combine everything thoroughly. Mix in the cherries and white chocolate chips on a very low speed or by hand. Chill your dough for half an hour, minimum, and then drop by tablespoonfuls (use a melon ball-style scoop for ease and uniformity) onto your prepared pans and bake for 8-10 mins. The cookies will be soft coming out of the oven but will firm up in just a few minutes. Store them in a tightly-sealed container for up to 5 days; makes about 40 cookies.

*An ice cream maker is a fun gadget to own; we have a Cuisinart and I love it, use it all the time for ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and slushy summer drinks. As good as these cookies are, I would still advocate owning an ice cream maker, and if you do, there is a cookbook so you can make Ben & Jerry’s flavors at home. !!

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