Teresa’s Bake Shop – Christmas Cookie Extravaganza – 2013
Cherry Surprises are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Our family loves these delicious cookies. We’ve made them several times for our annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. Almost every year we bake 3,000 to 5,000 cookies during the holiday season. Yes, it is a LOT of work! We have a large Christmas cookie list that includes friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, church friends and service providers. We get asked every year if they are on the Christmas “nice” or “naughty” list for our Christmas cookies. 🙂
Cherry Surprises are kind of like the Russian Teacakes or Walnut or Pecan Butterballs. I love those recipes passed down from our grandparent’s generation. But these cookies come with one significant difference. A candied cherry is baked on the inside. Oh, yes! After the cookies have baked and cooled you roll them in powdered sugar. Cherry Surprises are mouthwatering, melt-in-your-mouth type of cookies. They’re also spectacular for holiday baking.
Several years ago I worked in the church office at First Presbyterian Church in Duncanville, TX. Around Christmas of 1997, Shirley Lotts brought several platters of baked breads and cookies to the church office for our consumption. Well, I had to sample everything! I’ve already posted Apricot Nut Bread, Banana Apricot Nut Bread and Apricot Cream Cheese Cookies–all recipes I collected from Shirley that day. Now, I offer this delightful cookie, Cherry Surprises. They are a delectable, irresistible cookie that’s fabulous for holiday parties, Christmas Cookie Exchanges, or any kind of festive activity this time of the year.
If you’re looking for a wonderful cookie for cherry lovers in your family, I suggest Cherry Surprises. My former father-in-law (now deceased) loved cherries. So cookies with cherries have always been on our Christmas cookie lists each year. This one, though a little labor intensive, is so worth the effort. Maybe you should consider adding this cookie to your Christmas baking schedule this year, too!
Cherry Surprises are a wonderful holiday cookie with a candied cherry baked into the center. Don’t Cherry Surprises look gorgeous?
We found that rolling these in powdered sugar AFTER the cookies cool was easier than rolling them in powdered sugar while the cookies were still warm (which was the way the original instructions directed that they be done).
Cherry Surprises are a great cookie to bake for holiday or Christmas parties. Bring in a plate of these jewels to your office and they will be wolfed down in no time. These cookies take a little longer to bake than most cookies – usually 15-20 minutes.
Here’s what I did.
Place softened butter and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Don’t let this picture fool you. I multiplied the original recipe times 10 for these pictures.
Mix with an electric mixer to combine.
Add finely diced walnuts or pecans. Don’t use merely chopped pecans or walnuts. This cookie works a lot better with really small pieces of nuts.
I tried to stir all this dough but it worked better for my husband to mix this dough with his hands. Remember this is 10 batches at once!
Refrigerate dough several hours. I refrigerated overnight so I set the dough out to warm slightly about an hour before I started working with it here.
I highly recommend if you are making multiple batches that you put each batch in a separate container. Then only pull out the container you’re going to work with and allow the other containers to stay chilled. The cookies will not flatten out as much that way while baking.
Place a small amount of dough in your hand and flatten it. Or flatten dough on your counter top. Place a cherry in the middle.
Wrap and seal dough around the cherry.
This is what the cookies look like after wrapping a cherry in the middle.
Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. Place cookies on cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. When I bake 4-8 racks of cookies at once the amount of cooking time increases. If you only have one baking sheet in your oven at once then it will cook faster.
To keep the cookies from flattening too much, I should have chilled the dough again before baking. When you’re making ten batches at once it’s hard to keep the dough chilled enough.
Here the cookie is baked and I’m going to dip it in the powdered sugar. This is really easier to do when the cookies are completely cooled.
I use a lot of powdered sugar because I like the cookies well coated.
Here’s a plate of Cherry Surprises after they’ve been rolled in powdered sugar. These cookies are a wonderfully festive and great for parties.
We love Cherry Surprises and believe your family will too. You can see the cherries hidden inside the cookie.
If you’re used to making Pecan Butterballs or Russian Tea Cakes for Christmas, you’ll enjoy these cookies too.
Cherry Surprises are perfect for Christmas Cookie Exchanges. The cookies are usually gobbled up right away!
Here’s the recipe.
(Recipe adapted from Shirley Lotts, when I worked at First Presbyterian Church, Duncanville, TX)
- 1 cup butter
- 1 ¼ cup flour or 2 ¼ cup cake flour (use 2 ¼ cups regardless of what type of flour)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup finely chopped nuts
- 1/3-1/2 lb. candied cherries
- Powdered sugar
- Cream butter and ½ cup powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla and nuts.
- Add flour and mix well.
- Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill several hours.
- Take small amount of dough and flatten into a round – place a cherry in center and wrap dough around.
- Put on greased cookie sheets.
- Chill again 15 minutes. (These cookies must be chilled before baking or they run too much).
- Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes.
- Cool a few minutes before rolling cookies in powdered sugar.
I’m ready to break out a glass of milk and power down these cookies! Cherry Surprises have always been one of our most requested Christmas cookies!
Cherry Surprises rock! Your family will love them.
Are you drooling yet?