Chocolate Cherry Cookies


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Makes about 20 large hearts

You can leave out the cherries if desired, although the yield will be slightly smaller. For the best soft texture, be sure not to over bake these cookies; they are done when the tops look completely dry.

Pulse until finely ground, about 12 long pulses:
1 cup dried tart cherries

Place in a microwave safe bowl with:
1 tablespoon kirsch
1 teaspoon water

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature.

Place in large bowl and beat until light:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Add one at a time:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add and mix until just incorporated:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Dutch process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir in cooled cherries until thoroughly incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. (If dough chills longer, you may need to let it soften slightly before rolling to prevent cracking.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out on a lightly floured counter to 1/4-inch thickness and cut, then transfer cookies onto cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper or silicone liners. Brush tops lightly with water, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly colored. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, spread with White Chocolate Ganache, let cool, and drizzle or write with melted semisweet chocolate.