Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cookie Blog Hop - Cherry Filled Almond Cookies


When I was invited to help co-host the #CookieLove Blog Hop for December, I was both flattered to be considered, and, quite frankly, terrified to accept because, well, I'm a cook, not a baker.  And cookies are very different from cakes and pies.  I can follow a cookie recipe, but to develop one is not exactly something I felt I could do.  I thought about it and nearly decided to decline, but then I realized that this could be a fun challenge, one where I could step into a different category within the subject I love, and conquer a fear. So, I accepted and immediately began working out several cookie recipes, desperately hoping I could actually do it without just ultimately showcasing already published recipes all month long (which is usually what I end up baking at my house during the holiday season).

Cooking is primarily instinct and experience; we know what our ingredients taste like and can usually match them well enough to work out a fine dish, using a little bit of this a little more of that, and so on until we find a delicious balance.  But baking is more scientific; each of the ingredients serve a specific purpose that not only affects the flavor, but the texture, the size, and the shape. And then there is the issue of sugar, which is a pretty important part of baking sweets.  Since I'm not much of a sugary sort of gal, I knew this would be one of my biggest challenges.

The first batch of cookies I made were supposed to be Cranberry Nut Pinwheels.  The dough was too sticky and hard to work with, but I thought it would be better after it chilled.  It was, but only slightly.  My cookies expanded very little, and never became larger than a half dollar.  And the cranberry nut filling just kind of melted into the dough.  They ended up looking like this:

my failed cranberry nut pinwheels
What an ugly disappointment! But, they tasted really good, so we ate all 2 dozen of them just to get them out of the way and move on before I lost my faith in myself; I had six more recipes to try after this one.

The Cherry Filled Almond Cookies turned out exactly as I had hoped, though.  I was shooting for a naturally sweetened spin on the traditional thumbprint style cookie, and I found it quite easily.  A tender but sturdy cookie, flavored with honey and almonds on the inside and studded with more almonds on the outside - the perfect vessel to hold a delicious dollop of cherry preserves.  And they are not ugly!

A word about the cherry preserves - if you are not using your own super delicious homemade cherry preserves (I didn't either), please look for someone else's super delicious homemade cherry preserves.  Commercial jams and jellies are not what we are looking for with these cookies; a good, solid, real cherry flavor (with actual real cherries), preferably naturally sweetened, jam or preserve can be found in local specialty shops or at farmer's markets everywhere, and I suggest using one of those to fill these tasty little cookies.

Please be sure to check out all the fabulous cookie recipes included in the Cookie Love Blog Hop during the month of December listed just beneath this recipe!

Cherry Filled Almond Cookies
makes about 2 dozen
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1/2 c butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract (such as Simply Organic Almond Extract)
  • 1 egg, separated*
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/3-1/2 c cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, combine honey, butter, almond extract, egg yolk*.

*To separate an egg white from the egg yolk, simply crack the egg and pass the yolk between the halves of the shell, allowing the white to fall into a small bowl (we will be using the white later, so be sure it has its own bowl).


With an electric hand held mixer, beat until smooth.


Stir in the flour and salt until well combined and dough holds together.


Beat the egg white slightly with a fork - just until it isn't gloppy.  Place the finely chopped almonds in a separate bowl.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls by gently rolling the balls between both palms.

sorry for the blur 
Dip the balls into the egg white, shake off excess.  


Roll the balls in the chopped almonds, ensuring they are completely covered.

Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Press your thumb deeply into the center of each ball.  (My own thumbprint isn't very wide, so I opened the indentation somewhat)



Bake about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Fill the indentations with 1/2 - 1 tsp cherry preserves.




Please join in on the #cookielove fun by linking up any cookie recipe from the month of December 2011.  Don't forget to link back to this post so that your readers know to stop by the #cookielove event!  The twitter hashtag is #cookielove.

CookieLove Blog Hop Co-Hosts
Badger Girl Learns to Cook
Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves
Big Fat Baker
Bloc de recetas
Bon a croquer
Cafe TerraBlog
Cake Duchess
Creative Cooking Corner
Easily Good Eats
Georgiecakes
Hobby and More
Knitstamatic
Mike's Baking
Mis Pensmientos
No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
Oh Cake
Queen's Notebook
Savoring Every Bite
Simply Reem
Soni's Food For Thought
Teaspoon of Spice
That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!
The Art of Cooking Real Food
The Spicy RD
The Wimpy Vegetarian
Vegetarian Tastebuds
Vegan Yack Attack



29 comments:

  1. Sometimes my baked goods turn out so bad that they go straight into trash..but atleast yours tasted good :)
    these cherry filled cookies look awesome.

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  2. I'm not the best cookie maker/baker either. But... I love to bake and keep trying even after (2) bake fails this past week. Your cookies looks so good, even the pinwheels. Happy Holidays.

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  3. I'm the same way with cookies. I've only got a couple under my belt so the confidence isn't there yet. Your cherry-almond cookies look great, though. Love the combination of flavors.

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  4. Thanks for hosting, Laura.

    I linked up the recipe for coconut macaroons, which is gluten free and sweetened with maple syrup instead of refined sugar. These light, airy cookies are easy to make and a treat to eat: http://commonsensehomesteading.blogspot.com/2011/12/coconut-macaroons-refined-sugar-free.html

    I've been baking since I was a little peanut and we used to have a family catering business, so cookies are something I have a lot of experience with, but now I'm learning all over again as I experiment with gluten free options and low sugar recipes. It's a whole new adventure. :-)

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  5. Thanks so much for linking the recipe, Laurie! They look awesome!

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  6. Thank you, everyone - it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has trouble concocting a cookie (because I kind of thought I was!).

    Georgiecakes - if every third try turns out like your Cranberry Turtle Bars, it's all good!! I'm dying to make those!

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  7. I love thumbprints, there such a classic cookie!! The cherry preserves are perfect in this cookie! I need to pick some up!

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  8. These look awesome and so perfect for Christmas!

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  9. These sound so delicious! I've never made cherry cookies before. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Thanks for your comment on http://www.yummymummykitchen.com I'm happy to be your newest follower. I would love if you would come follow me back. Thanks and have a great weekend!

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  10. Thank you - it will be my pleasure to follow your blog :-)

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  11. Laura- Your thumbprints with the cherry jam look wonderful. I have been baking for many years, but still have failures, but that's part of baking:)

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  12. I love almond cookies, and i bet the cherry marmelade is a great contrast :)

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  13. Good for you for going out of your cooking comfort zone and I must say, I think you were very successful (even with the first ones!) Frankly, I think cherry + almond is one of the best cookie combos - your recipe sounds great.

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  14. Well I'm glad you decided to join the bloghop, these cookies look delicious! Cherry and almond is a great flavor combo.

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  15. i love the thumbprint cookies! cherry and almonds are a wonderful combo. :) so glad you are a part of our bloghop! sending some #cookielove to u!

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  16. You did a terrific job baking this! They look amazing! Glad you joined CookieLove with us!

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  17. love the almond and cherry together.. and those cookies came out all good!

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  18. Very unique procedures, I have never seen cookie dough dipped in egg white then rolled in almonds. Interesting, I imagine it would give a nice crust

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  19. Those cookies look extremely delicious! Especially with that cherry filling!!

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  20. These look and sound amazing! Almost like little hand held cherry pies. I must try soon, thank you for sharing :)

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  21. These look so tasty! I love the taste of cherry paired with almond...mmmmmmm. So fun to host the cookie bloghop with you :)

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  22. These look delicious! I like that you added healthier ingredients to them! I'm with Lizzy - there's something about cherry and almond together! Sorry your pinwheels didn't turn out - but I'm glad they tasted good!

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  23. Love the combo of cherry and almond. I bet they were delicious!

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  24. Ummmm....YUM!!! I don't think the cranberry nut pinwheel cookies failed, they sounded DELISH:-) Love almond anything, and cherries with almond make everything better:-) Hugs, Terra
    www.cafeterrablog.com

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  25. So happy you took on the cookie challenge! Your recipe sounds delicious! I love filled cookies like these because you have so many filling options. The cherry jam sounds wonderful! Happy to "meet" through #cookielove!

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  26. Cookie "mistakes" are the best kind - because usually they're still edible and even tasty! These thumbprint cookies look just perfect for a holiday dessert table.

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  27. nice opinion, thanks for sharing...

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  28. Mmm how pretty and festive! I bet these are delicious with those almonds!

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  29. I love that you took a more natural spin on thumbprint cookies! I don't usually like thumbprint cookies but would love to try one of these. :)

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