Hi, Zesty Cook readers! I’m Laura from Pies and Plots, where I share lots of sweet treats and my love of writing. Zesty has kindly allowed me to guest post today. He has so many amazing recipes on the site, including tons of cookie recipes, which got me thinking . . .
I am officially in the holiday spirit. The house is fully decorated for Christmas with trees covered in ornaments, a village setting, featuring the Christmas scene we all envision in our minds. The weather has taken a sharp cold turn and flurries have made their first appearance. My hand is cramped from writing cards and I’ve got paper cuts from wrapping presents for the people I love. There has also been plenty of baking, but something was missing.
Cookies. It just isn’t Christmas without a few cookies. I was never much of a cookie baker, as they never seemed to turn out just right. With the blog, becoming a cookie master was a virtual necessity, so I made batch after batch and have discovered a few secrets. I never bake cookies higher than 350 degrees, I bake only one sheet at a time, always rotate halfway through, and take them out when they’re still not quite fully baked, because by the time they cool, they will be perfect. I also have a thing for giant cookies. That way they stay softer, thicker, and slightly gooey in the center.
I put my cookie rules into practice with these Cherry Vanilla Cookies. They turned out better than I could have imagined after I mixed up the original recipe by swapping half of the granulated sugar for light brown to make them extra soft. Grabbing one only minutes after pulling it from the oven, this cookie put my holiday spirit over the top. Warm and gooey, the cookie itself is incredibly soft, with a punch of tartness from chewy dried cherries and the crunch of sliced almonds. Then there are the white baking chips that add enough sweetness to balance the cookie perfectly. But it’s the vanilla and vanilla bean that give this cookie its uniquely addictive flavor. This is the second time I’ve made cookies with vanilla bean and it certainly won’t be the last, as the flavor is rich and complex, never allowing the cookie to become too sweet.
Whether you make these cookies for a Christmas party, to share with family and friends, or as part of a cookie exchange, this is a recipe you will fall in love with. In fact you may need to make two batches since the first might vanish as fast as the holiday season always does.
Cherry Vanilla Cookies
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, seeded, pod discarded
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup dried tart cherries
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup white baking chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars by hand or using a hand or stand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add vanilla bean seeds, egg, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until once again light and fluffy.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour flour mixture into sugar mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be very thick. Add the cherries, almonds, and chips and mix until they are distributed throughout the dough. The dough may be stored in the refrigerator for a few hours if necessary.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, about ¼ cup, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, for about 16 minutes, until barely set and very light golden brown. Cool completely on baking sheets, or eat them warm.
- Cookies may be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.
- They’ll taste freshly baked.
Recipe adapted from Sugar Plum
Thanks so much Laura for the yummy post.