I’m sad.  One of my favorite TV series just finished for the season.  No, not Downton Abbey (although we’re mid-way through the season and I’m already dreading when it’s done).  This year, I succumbed to the allure of The Great British Bake-Off .  GBBO is a contest where everyday people – grandmas, students, professionals, stay-at-home-parents – compete against each other in the kitchen making pretty much any kind of baked good you can imagine, from bread to pies to tarts to cakes to cookies … the whole schmear.  The prize?  Basically, the world’s ugliest trophy and bragging rights to the title Britain’s Best Amateur Baker.  No guaranteed book deal, money, recording contract, TV deal – to be honest, it’s nice to see people try to win for winning’s sake for a change.

Although, having said that, today’s recipe comes from a new book out from last year’s winner, Edd Kimber, aka “The Boy Who Bakes.”  Edd is embarassingly young and cute in a dorky-but-totally-charming-in-a-sweet-Opie-ish-sort-of-way.  And boy-howdy, can he throw-down in the kitchen.  Case in point:  his double-chocolate and sour cherry cookies.  Now, I admit, I tinkered with the recipe a very little bit, but not because I think it needed help … it was more because I just can’t help my personal taste when it comes to baking.  At any rate, this was last week’s work treat and it went down a storm.  So, show Edd some love and check out his new book – it’s absolutely lovely and is written with the home baker in mind.  Oh, and hey, he even has a gorgeous recipe for Bourbon Pecan Pie that I can’t wait to make – and he’s not even from the American South!

Double Chocolate and Sour Cherry Cookies  (Red’s version, makes about 4 doz)

  • 6 (yes, 6) bars of Green and Black’s Dark Dark Chocolate
  • 7 oz butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/3 cup dried cherries

Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare baking trays by lining them with parchment paper.  Then slowly melt three of the bars of chocolate in a double-boiler, putting the other 3 into a plastic bag and bashing the heck out of them to make shards, dust and chips.  After the chocolate has melted, remove it from the double-boiler so that it will start to cool while you make the cookie dough (me, I like to give it at least 30 minutes, if possible).  Last bit of prep, put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and use a whisk to sift them together.

Okay.  Now, put the butter and sugars into the bowl of a large standing mixer and use the paddle to beat on medium three or four minutes until fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time until smooth, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the butter is mixed in.  Next, beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla until smooth.  Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour mixture – when it’s about half-incorporated remove the bowl from the mixer and add the bashed chocolate and dried cherries, mixing in by hand just until the flour is fully incorporated.  Don’t overbeat the flour – you don’t want tough cookies.

Next, use a teaspoon to drop the mixture onto the prepared trays, leaving at least three inches between each and bake about 13 minutes.  When they’re done, slide the entire sheet of parchment paper onto a wire rack and let the cookies cool that way for at leat 10 minutes before taking them off the paper and letting them finish cooling directly on the rack – this way, they’ll maintain their shape.