I have a confession to make. I have thus far been a bit of a Scrooge this holiday season.
I think it was because I got sick on the weekend I was planning to make holiday cookies for gifts for coworkers, faraway friends, and neighbors. It might also have been because I skipped American Thanksgiving (fondue and macarons were a fine replacement, don’t get me wrong). But it’s probably because I’m not able to go home to see my family for Christmas–although my cats will be good company, it won’t quite be the same as as having Norwegian cookies and buckeyes in the living room, wearing a goofy Christmas sweater stolen from my mom, and pestering everyone by repeatedly singing the only verse I know of my favorite Christmas song.
But I am Scrooge no more. For real, thank the lord for Tasting Tuesdays or else I might have been Scrooge-y until after New Year’s. I am so full of the Holiday spirit it’s ridiculous, and here are the reasons why.
Reason One: Double chocolate cherry cookies–this month’s Tasting Tuesdays treat! These little guys are good… until you hit the chewy, tart cherries hiding in the dough. Then they are AMAZING. The secret is getting yourself some excellent, dark, extremely rich cocoa powder–I like Valrhona!
I covered them in glittery gold sanding sugar for a bit of festiveness.
Reason Two: The spirit of giving (aww)… in the form of Black Forest Truffles. Morgan Shaw, a friend of mine who is an excellent candymaker, conspired with me to concoct an extra treat for this holiday Tasting Tuesdays: truffles! Naturally, they had to pair with the cookies, so Morgan made an impressive amount of black forest truffles, dark chocolate ganache filled with white chocolate and tart cherries.
The idea was that customers could have a cookie while they’re there and bring back a truffle for a friend (or for a post-shopping treat for themselves–no judgment here). We even put gift tags on them!
And finally, Reason Three: The girls at Anthropologie Milwaukee, from their killer visual display skills to their incredible sweetness. Not only did Kim create an adorable winter wonderland forest display–I mean, birds and jingle bells!? Too much awesome–but Shannon and Tara also gave me a present (beautifully wrapped, of course)! Which was so incredibly sweet of them. I can’t thank you guys enough!
So when I got home after work, I unpacked my camera and the present, and I looked around my apartment. I needed a place to put the gorgeous gift… and a way to remind myself not to open it till Christmas Eve. Then I did something I had actually been considering not doing at all. I got my stepladder, climbed to the top of my closet, and unpacked the tiny fake Christmas tree my mom dug out of our basement for me the first year I moved to Milwaukee. I strung it with some faux pearls and dotted it with candy canes (which may or may not have been in the box for a year along with the tree–whoops).
I only have two ornaments–a little crystal teardrop whose origins I can’t recall, and an awesome Hoops & Yoyo ornament which is missing a ribbon. The teardrop got pride of place and Hoops & Yoyo are currently sitting under the tree until I can craft something to hang them up with. And last but not certainly least, I put my first present of the season–from the sweet ladies of Anthropologie–underneath it, patiently waiting for Christmas Eve.
And so, I’m happy to say that Scrooge has been fully exorcised from my system… And it finally feels like a lot like Christmas.
A giant heartfelt thank you to Morgan for donating his time and candymaking skills, and as always to Shannon, Tara, Kim, and Lynn!
About Tasting Tuesdays
Every month, I bake a recipe from a cookbook sold at the Milwaukee Anthropologie. Stop by–the goodies will be on display for you to try, and I’ll be there, too, camera in hand. I post the featured recipe and photos of the event here on the blog. (Anthropologie pays for groceries for the treats, but I have full control over the cookbook/recipe from their store as well as what I say in my blog posts.)
Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Adapted from Small Sweet Treats by Marguerite Marceau Henderson
Makes about 24 cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Valrhona cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
Sanding sugar in gold
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour mixture; dough will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips and dried cherries until distributed.
Form balls of dough with a 1-inch diameter cookie scoop and place 2 in apart on baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar. Bake for 15 minutes until puffed. Allow to cool.
Keeps for 5 days in an airtight container.