Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies

A couple of people have asked me to post the recipe for these and, as they are too good not to share, I felt that I really needed to oblige them.  I was first enticed by these cookies in the December/January 2010 issue of Cook's Country magazine.  This recipe was also included in the America's Test Kitchen: Holiday Cookies special issue magazine (2010).  They were submitted by reader Stephanie Matthews from Tempe, AZ and were a finalist in a holiday cookie contest.  I am so glad (and you should be, too) that she didn't keep this gem of a recipe to herself.  I made them for a party and they were a definite hit- they taste exactly like cheesecake!

Cherry Cheesecake Cookies:

1. Combine 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on med-high speed, beat 16 ounces softened cream cheese, 20 tablespoons softened butter, and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth and creamy (2 min).  Add 2 large eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 30 minutes.

2.  Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle position and heat oven to 350-degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 8 graham crackers) in a shallow dish.

3.  Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in crumbs.  Place balls 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Using a tablespoon measure, make an indentation in the center of each ball.  Place 3 cherries (from 3 cans cherry pie filling- drained*) in each indentation.  Bake until golden around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, switching and rotating sheets half-way through baking.  Cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container up to 2 days**.

*I ended up only using 2 cans of pie filling, but mine were labeled "more fruit".  You may need the 3 cans called for in the magazine's recipe.

**I kept mine in the fridge and the texture didn't suffer.