If you are a fan of chocolate and cherries you’ve got to try these Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies. These fudgy, brownie-like thumbprint cookies have a sweet cherry peeking through a drizzle of cherry-infused chocolate frosting.
These chewy Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies have such a nostalgic feel for me. Probably due to my fond maraschino cherry memories from childhood but also because all thumbprint cookies hold a special place in my heart.
I had such a thing for maraschino cherries when I was a kid and I blame it all on the Shirley Temple. That beverage was all the rage with the hip 8-year old crowd in the early 70’s and I can remember stuffing about 5 or 6 maraschinos in my glass at a time. Weird kid? Maybe. But my love for maraschino cherries has not dwindled with age.
These chewy chocolate cherry cookies are an excellent choice for Valentine’s Day and Christmas. They are bright and cheerful and a great alternative to giving a box of chocolates.
For the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- Butter – Let the butter sit at room temperature for an hour or two before beginning. If you forget, microwave it on the defrost setting or 30% power in 5-second increments until it’s softened.
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Pure vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – Cocoa powder adds rich chocolate flavor the thumbprint cookie base.
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Maraschino cherries – These preserved, sweetened cherries are commonly used in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and as a garnish on everything from baked hams to ice cream sundaes. You’ll find jars of maraschino cherries in the canned fruit section of your grocery store.
For the Chocolate Cherry Frosting
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Sweetened condensed milk –
- Maraschino cherry juice – The cherry flavor in the frosting comes from a little of the reserved cherry juice from the jar of maraschino cherries.
How to Make Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
- Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and then beat in the egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture a little at a time.
- Beat the mixture until it is well combined.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (you should have about 24), and place them 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use a small cookie scoop to easily create evenly sized cookies.
- Place them on an ungreased or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Slightly indent each ball with one of your fingers, smoothing out and reshaping the dough a little, if needed.
- Place one maraschino cherry into each indentation in the thumbprint cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 11 minutes. After baking, allow the cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Blot the maraschino cherries lightly with a paper towel before placing them on the cookie dough. A little juice is okay but you don’t want them dripping wet.
Easy 3-Ingredient Chocolate Cherry Frosting
- Melt the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the reserved maraschino cherry juice and stir until smooth. You may need to add a little additional juice to reach the desired drizzling or piping consistency you are after
- Use a pastry bag fitted with a small circle tip to pipe the frosting over the completely cooled cookies. Or, just drizzle the frosting over the cookies from the pointed tip of a spoon.
You’ll have about half a can of luscious sweetened condensed milk left over. For an indulgent java experience try Pioneer Woman’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee and there are lots of other great ways to use leftover sweetened condensed milk.
Storing Frosted Cookies
I like to store frosted cookies in a single layer in a baking pan with a lid to be sure the frosting stays intact. You can also store the cookies in an air tight container between layers of wax or parchment paper after the frosting has had time to set. Store at room temperature and consume within 3 to 4 days.
Freezing Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
For the best quality, I recommend freezing unbaked cookies. Once you form the balls of dough, place them on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze until firm. Transfer them to a freezer bag or other airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the dough completely in the refrigerator. Once thawed, form the indentations, fill with cherries, and bake and frost as directed in the recipe.
More Chocolate Cookie Recipes
- Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies
- Double Chocolate Cookies
- Chewy Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cookies
- Chocolate Brownie Oatmeal Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
- Check out my entire collection of cookie recipes!
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
For the Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 24 maraschino cherries, blotted dry
For the Chocolate Cherry Frosting
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons reserved maraschino cherry juice, plus additional as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and then add to creamed mixture a little at a time, beating until well combined.
- Using a small cookie scoop and/or your hands, shape the dough into 24 balls, about 1-inch round, and place them on ungreased or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Slightly indent each ball of dough with one of your fingers and then place one maraschino cherry in each indentation.
- Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Easy Chocolate Cherry Frosting
- Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a small, heavy saucepan over LOW heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add 2 tablespoons reserved cherry juice, and stir until smooth. Add additional cherry juice, if necessary, to reach the desired consistency.
- Drizzle the frosting over the cooled cookies or alternately, transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a small circle tip and pipe over the cookies for a more uniform look.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
This post was originally published on February 11, 2014. It has been updated with new text and images.