Today’s recipe is a fabulous holiday cookie, with a Middle Eastern twist. It’s loaded with some of my favorite ingredients: chocolate, sour cherries, and gorgeous green pistachios. But get this: it’s also dairy-free and uses very little flour.
Now don’t get it twisted and start thinking I’m trying to spring health food on your around the holidays. Not at all! The taste of these babies? Absolutely decadent. The texture is brownie-like, with extra little bursts of flavor from the cherries, pistachios, cardamom, and chocolate chunks.
Back in the day, my friends and I used to hold holiday cookie baking parties. It was such a blast, and everyone got to take home a big batch of several different types of cookies. The idea was to package the different varieties of cookies into gifts.
Something tells me that not many of those cookie gift packets made it out the door once we all got safely home with our respective cookie stashes. 😉 I haven’t thrown, or been to, such a party in awhile, but the next time I do go to one, you know these cookies will be my contribution.
Before we get to the recipe itself, her are a three of today’s key ingredients:
Now, for the recipe.
Note: Adapted from a recipe in the December 2009 issue of Body + Soul Magazine.
Chocolate Drop Cookies with Sour Cherries and Pistachios
Prep time- 15-20 minutes
Cook time- 8 minutes Max
Yield: 5 dozen (or slightly less if you like cookie dough as much as I do)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour, and it worked perfectly)
1 scant teaspoon cardamom powder
3 egg whites (save the yolks for another use. Perhaps for a custard or for feeding a pet)
Small pinch of salt
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chunks or chips, melted and cooled (If you are avoiding dairy, check the ingredient list to make sure there are no milk products in the chocolate chips/chunks).
Generous 1/3 cup chopped, dried sour cherries
Generous 1/3 cup toasted pistachios plus approx. 2-3 Tablespoons more for garnishing tops of cookies
Generous 1/3 cup chocolate chips or chunks, NOT melted
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa and flour and cardamom powder.
3. With a hand mixer, or a stand-up mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy. (You’ll see bubbles). With the mixer running, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. When all of it has been added, raise the speed to high, and beat until the egg whites are the consistency of marshmallows. (This took me about 5 minutes with the hand mixer. Yes, I’m low-tech like that. The gorgeous Kitchen Aid stand mixer has yet to make an appearance in my life. Santa, are you listening?) Now beat in the vanilla.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, and beat in half of the melted, cooled chocolate. Then beat in half of the cocoa-flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl to incorporate all ingredients. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate and cocoa-flour mix. Stop the mixer.
5. By hand, gently fold in the cherries, pistachios, and chocolate chips or chunks. Let sit until thick enough to scoop, about 5 minutes.
6. As dough sets, prepare parchment paper and place on cookies sheets.
7. Now it’s time to scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets. Scoop by the level teaspoonful. Leave about an inch in between cookies. Try to keep the cookies the same size to ensure they cook evenly.
8. Garnish cookies with whole and/or pistachio pieces. Looks so festive and pretty!
9. Bake 6-8 minutes, until cookies are a bit cracked on the outside. (I personally like my cookies on the soft, moist, and chewy side, so 7 minutes was plenty of time for mine in my particular oven. If, like me, you prefer softer cookies, remember, they might look slightly undercooked when first taken out of the oven).
10. Remove from oven and let cool. This is the part where recipes always say to cool the baked goods on a wire rack. Well, I don’t own any wire racks, so mine just cooled on the sheets, and no one’s complaining.
Approximate Nutrition facts from Body + Soul Magazine:
Note, my version is probably a bit more caloric, due to my heavy hand with the cherries, pistachios, and also due to the fact that I added in extra chocolate chips 🙂 Hey, it’s the holidays! :
1 gram protein
4 grams carbohydrates
1.5 grams of fat (0.7 saturated)
0 grams of fiber