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How Sweet It Is
Decadent Holiday Desserts

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Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Chocolate Cherry Martini
Holiday Cherry Pie
Cherry Chocolate Bark

(Family Features) - Give in to temptation with the scrumptious combination of cherries and chocolate. With a few on-hand ingredients, it's easy to create gourmet hostess gifts or delectable desserts for the party you're hosting.

The possibilities for chocolate and cherries go way beyond what you find in a candy box. Cherry Chocolate Bark, Chocolate Cherry Cookies and Holiday Cherry Pie make the most of this classic combination. And they can all be made up to three days in advance - so no last-minute fuss. For the grown-ups on your guest list, fix them a Chocolate Cherry Martini and wait for the wows to begin.

Easy holiday desserts for all ages - how sweet!

For more indulgent recipes, visit nationalcherries.com.

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Chocolate Cherry Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk, milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour* or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 16-ounce jars maraschino cherries, stemless or halves
Chocolate Frosting
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1+ cups powdered sugar

    1. Chocolate Cherry Cookies - Heat oven to 400°F. Chop cherries, reserving 50 halves for garnish. Mix sugar, margarine, egg, chocolate, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and cherries.
    2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart into ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched; cool.
    3. Frost with Chocolate Frosting or dust with powdered sugar. Garnish with cherry halves, if desired.
    4. Chocolate Frosting - Heat chocolate and margarine/butter over low heat until melted; remove from heat. Stir in water and powdered sugar until smooth.
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Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies
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Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*If using self-rising flour, omit baking soda and salt.

Chocolate Cherry Martini

  • 1 1/2 ounces vanilla vodka
  • 3/4 ounce Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino cherry juice, drained from the cherries
  • 1/4 ounce white chocolate syrup
  • Maraschino cherry with stem
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    1. Combine vodka, chocolate liqueur and cherry juice in a drink shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a martini glass that has been lined with the chocolate syrup.
    2. Garnish with the maraschino cherry.

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Makes 1 serving

Holiday Cherry Pie

  • 1 16-ounce package frozen sweet cherries (about 1-3/4 cups)
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 8-inch chocolate crumb pie crusts
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    1. Chop cherries while frozen. Keep frozen until ready to use.
    2. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk; mix well. Add chopped cherries, lemon juice and almond extract; stir just until combined. Fold in whipped topping.
    3. Pour cherry mixture evenly into pie crusts. Freeze 8 hours or overnight. Cut into serving-size pieces. Garnish with shaved chocolate, or as desired. Serve immediately; pie slices thaw quickly. Store leftovers, covered, in freezer.

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Makes 2 (8-inch) pies, 12 servings

Cherry Chocolate Bark

  • 1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries, stemless
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 8 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, cut into pieces

    1. Chop cherries; set aside. Mix pecans with nutmeg and cinnamon; set aside.
    2. Before melting chocolate, cover large baking sheet or other flat surface (that fits in refrigerator) with waxed paper. Melt semisweet chocolate in small saucepan over low heat; stir constantly. Do not allow it to burn or get hard in bottom of pan. Pour melted chocolate in prepared pan. Using a metal spatula or knife, quickly spread chocolate into a rectangle, about 14 x 8 inches or about 1/8 inch thick. Put in refrigerator; chill about 20 minutes.
    3. Melt white chocolate in small saucepan, being careful that it does not burn in bottom of pan; stir constantly. Remove pan with semisweet chocolate from refrigerator. Pour melted white chocolate over semisweet chocolate layer. Quickly spread white chocolate to cover semisweet chocolate layer, using a metal spatula or knife.
    4. Sprinkle pecans and cherries evenly over chocolate. Use metal spatula to press cherries and pecans into chocolate. Chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight. Break into irregular pieces. Store in cool place in airtight container.

Makes 36 medium pieces

SOURCE: National Sweet Cherry Foundation

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