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Black Forest cookies

Ohhh! I feared this would happen. Something deep down in me knew that if I kept going the way I was, this day was bound to come.

Let me back up just a bit. I actually love believing that what lies just around the corner may be even more wonderful than what I’ve already “tasted” or experienced. It keeps me inquisitive, curious, open to new places, new music, foods I haven’t tried before. So when I come upon something that knocks my socks off, I’m mostly delighted (almost solely delighted) – but I’m a tinge (mind you, a very faint tinge) worried or anxious. What could this possibly mean for the future? Could this mean that there’s not better to come? I might as well just throw up my hands in surrender, with the best of life now most certainly behind me!

Today, facing the ingredients and contemplating the possibilities, my anxiety rose. Dare I continue? But I’m a reckless daredevil and so I did!  I made those cookies that I feared would undo me. And those cookies did.

And, if you can muster the courage  to be undone by a cookie- and I so hope you canbake them – eat them  – share them.

I haven’t even told you why, have I? OK, briefly then: a deep chocolate cookie, no eggs to make it fluffy or bloated, no leavening agent to make it light or lofty. A couple simple ingredients – flour, butter, sugar, and just a wee bit of cream cheese – and then! almond extract and Kirsch (cherry liqueur), dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries. And then a drizzle of Kirsch flavored icing.  ~ ~ You see what I mean?

Black Forest Cookies

  • 2¼ cup (11¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup super-fine sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon Kirsch (or other cherry liqueur)
  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese, cool room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • 1 Tablespoon cream cheese – room temperature
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Kirsch (or other cherry liqueur)
  • 1-1/2 cup (6 ounces) powdered sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt on low speed until combined. With mixer continuing to run on low, drop in the pieces of butter, one at a time, and continue to mix until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly damp, about a minute or so longer. Add the almond extract and Kirsch (or other cherry liqueur) and the cream cheese. Mix for about 30 seconds, then add the chopped cranberries and chocolate chips. Mix just long enough to  distribute.

Remove the dough from the bowl and press it into a ball. Dough will be quite crumbly. Flatten the ball into a disk about an inch thick and wrap it in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. I(f you don’t plan to use right away, it can be kept up to 3 days in the refrigerator.)

Preheat oven to 375°F, with a rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and roll into 1-inch balls and place 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake for 11 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through. Cool the cookies on a wire rack. When room temperature, drizzle with glaze.

For the Glaze: Whisk the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of Kirsch together. Add powdered sugar and continue to whisk until smooth, adding more Kirsch as necessary to achieve proper consistency. Drizzle over top.

AFTERWORD: Next time I make them, I’ll have a plastic squeeze bottle to pour the icing into. Then I’ll have a much prettier cookie to show. These don’t look all that attractive in the photo, though are prettier in person. And their taste more than makes up for their rather humble looks. Believe me, the humbleness is all my fault, and none of theirs.

 this recipe came from a holiday issue of Cook’s Illustrated 2010

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have a feeling I could eat that entire plate!

    November 14, 2011
    • o! I should have saved you some! : )

      November 14, 2011
  2. Ali #

    These sound heavenly!!

    November 14, 2011
  3. J’EN VEUX !!!!!

    November 15, 2011
  4. They look amazing, spree. I think they sound absolutely divine too.

    November 15, 2011
  5. What a heavenly combination of flavors.. I have to bring some baking to a party in two weeks, I will be trying this one!

    November 15, 2011
  6. These sound amazing, Mama! Cannot wait to give them a try. What an outstanding and unusual combination of flavors in a cookie — no wonder you were undone!

    November 15, 2011
  7. Ha, death by chocolate. These sound amazing.

    November 15, 2011
  8. carolyn #

    I certainly intend to be undone by these. They sit on that strawberry plate all innocent-looking, but I can tell they are thoroughly sassy.

    November 16, 2011

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