A big debate at the Cider Table is about the ultimate food combination. Beth thinks it is chocolate/peanut butter while Mike argues that chocolate/marshmallow is far superior. Yet, we can both agree that chocolate and cherry is a top contender, and that is what we marry together with this cookie.
Around the holidays, Hershey’s comes out with Cherry Cordial Crème Kisses. They are chocolate covered cherries without the cherry, just the creamy filling that surrounds the cherry. A family favorite on the cookie tray has always been Peanut Butter Blossoms (see, chocolate and peanut butter is THE BEST*). When Beth saw this special Kiss** flavor, she immediately thought they would make an awesome cookie. As is tradition, she was right!
These are more of a sophisticated Kiss cookie with the richness of dark chocolate and the sweetness of ripe red cherry. Adding the sparkle of sanding sugar makes them even more glam for the holidays, because who doesn’t want a little more twinkle this time of year!
Santa will enjoy a break from all the sugar cookies he consumed earlier in the night when you leave him these, especially paired with a cherry cider, like the one we recommend below. I would highly recommend picking up a few bags of these limited-edition Hershey’s Kisses so that you can make these cookies all year. They would be a perfect Valentine’s Day treat, too.
Chocolate Cherry Kiss Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar ¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup cocoa nibs
36 Hershey's Cherry Cordial Crème Kisses
Red and white sanding sugar (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder.
2. Beat butter and sugars until creamy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the egg, yogurt, and cocoa nibs; mix well.
3. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until combined, scraping the bowl as necessary.
4. This dough is very sticky. I like to chill for an hour to make it a little less sticky.
5. Shape the dough into balls. I use a small scoop. To dress them up, roll in red and white sanding sugar. I find using disposable food prep gloves helps to lessen the mess.
6. Drop cookies unto cookie sheets lined with parchment or a Silpat. Make sure to leave enough room for the cookies to spread.
7. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, rotating and switching the sheets from top to bottom halfway through.
8. While cookies are baking, unwrap your Kisses.
9. When cookies come out, gently press a kiss in the middle of each cookie. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Make sure you let the cookies cool and set completely before moving or else the Kiss will fall off.
You can approach pairing food and cider in a number of ways, the easiest of which is matching or coordinating flavors. Take the dominant flavor in your food and match it up with the same flavor in a cider. Easy peasy, especially since there are loads of cherry ciders on the market. It seems that cherry is the new orange which is the new black, or so we’re told. We had a Vander Mill Cherry Chuckle on hand, which apart from being a flavor match also felt adequately jolly, calling to mind Santa’s jiggly belly laugh. Cherry in the cider amplifies cherry in the cookies, while the tartness of the cider plays a foil to the slightly bitter note from the cocoa nibs.
* Beth obviously wrote this post. But Mike edited it and posted it, so here is where we declare once and for all time that chocolate and marshmallow is far superior to chocolate and peanut butter. We can likewise declare that the best song from a 1980s movie is “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from The Breakfast Club, not “If You Leave” from Pretty in Pink. Take that, Beth!
** This calls to mind Beth’s theme song: “Beth” by KISS. Note well that Mike puts KISS makeup on when he sings this to her.