Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies |

If you didn’t catch Ashley Rodriguez’s October Not Without Salt post featuring cherry chocolate chip cookies, you really missed out—and I say that not just because of the killer cookie recipe, but also because of the thoughtful writing on perfectionism and art and creative work that surrounded it. A riff on Ashley’s previously posted THE chocolate chip cookie, these cherry chocolate beauties are part toasted almond flour, part wheat (or, in our case, einkorn); made with ground flax and water instead of an egg; and studded with cherries and chopped chocolate throughout.

Tim and I have made them three, count them, three, times over the last week: once, after 10 p.m., when one of us said she had a cookie craving and the other could not be talked out of both going to the kitchen immediately in response; second, because the first batch had proven so good, we had to make more when that last morsel was gone; and third, during this past weekend, amidst the tree-buying, pine-hanging, movie-watching merriment that the beginning of December brings.

Tree | Food

Saturday, we got our tree. In 60-something degrees on the first day of December. The nice guys at Nashville Giving Tree, a very cool project organized by a local church to give 100% of tree purchase proceeds to help single moms in need, tied the six-foot evergreen to the roof of our car wearing flip flops and shorts, with Christmas carols playing in the background.

When we got home, Tim and I moved the sofa to clear space in the living room, he untied and then carried the tree through the front door, I took off my sweater and we gathered all the extraneous tree branches to tie together and hang in clusters anywhere we could: on the front porch, over the mantel, outside the kitchen door, from the window in the dining room. Within an hour, we discovered one of the greatest side effects of living in less than 1,000 square feet in the bottom level of a little brick house: the fresh, clean smell of the forest covered every dot and tittle, stamping our place with the inviting sense of the Christmas season throughout. Of course, then, we discovered the other side effect, and, despite 20 straight minutes of hunting down pine needles with the vacuum cleaner, I can still say with almost certainty that come two months from now, when we’re all thinking valentines, not Christmas cards, and spring seems right around the corner, I’ll still be finding needles falling out of my pockets or peeking out beneath our rug.

Christmas Decor |
Shanna |

Still though, there’s nothing like a real tree. A real tree and homemade burlap stockings and your favorite Christmas movie on TV (like it was Saturday night). The only thing better, if you ask me, is having a plate of these cherry chocolate chip cookies by your side.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies |

I know there’s no shortage of cookies this holiday season, no more than a shortage of gift-buying or present-shopping or travel plans or Christmas music in the car. Turn any direction, and there’s likely to be a new biscotti or rugelach or gingerbread recipe standing there, staring you in the face. You’ve got your personal favorites. You’ve got a million more to try. I get it.

So just promise me you’ll add these to the list? Next time you’re looking for a twist on an old classic, maybe when it’s 10 p.m. and a craving hits, you’ll be glad to have these waiting, December or not, trust me. Oh, and speaking of trust, if you don’t already know Ashley’s site, now would be a good time to check it out. Not Without Salt is one of my favorite spots online, partly for the surefire recipes, partly to hear about Ashley’s dates with her husband, but mostly for the beautiful, trust-filled voice with which she writes.

Cherry (or Apricot!) Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lightly adapted from Ashley Rodriguez at Not Without Salt
Makes around two dozen cookies

About the flax seeds: I know they’re not as much a pantry staple as eggs in the fridge, so, if you’re in a pinch, by all means substitute an egg for the flax and water. We tried both ways (eggs vs. flax/water mix), and the flax version won us over hard. With flax, you’ll get a flatter, crisper cookie; with an egg, you’ll get something slightly more traditional.

1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground (I [i.e., Tim] ground the flax seeds in a mortar and pestle, but note it takes some muscle)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened (we like the results best when we slowly warm the butter in a pan on the stove until it’s almost fully melted; room temperature also works nicely)
1 cup coconut palm sugar (or you could use another sugar)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond meal, toasted (350* for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden)
1/4 cup einkorn flour (or white whole wheat flour, which is what Ashley used)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cherries or chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (we chopped up an 3.5-ounce 85% dark bar)

Pre-heat your oven to 350*.

Combine the ground flax and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and the sugar until smooth and light in color. Stir in the cocoa powder. Add the flax mixture, along with the vanilla extract. Stir until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the toasted almond meal, einkorn (or wheat) flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the wet ingredients. Just before the mixture all comes together, add the dried cherries (or apricots) and chocolate. Stir until well combined.

Place spoonfuls of dough on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving two to three inches of space around each (we got six to eight cookies on each baking sheet, to give you an idea). Bake at 350* for 12 to 15 minutes or until just golden around the edges and the center still unset. Cool on a wire rack.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Kathryn

    That post of Ashley’s pops into my head every now and then – both the idea of the cookies and the very thought-provoking words that came with it. Can you believe I’ve not actually made cookies with flax before? I’m totally won over with your description of these though. Onto the holiday baking list these go!

    That’s a beauty of a tree too!

  2. Rachel

    I saw this post of Ashley’s. They looked delicious then and they look delicious now! I also must say how jealous I am that you can have a real Christmas tree, because I love them and their scent, but I am deathly allergic. :/ Oh well, I can live vicariously through you, then I suppose. ;)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Thank you so much! We spiffed things up last weekend, keeping the general layout but hopefully making it a little cleaner. I’m so happy with it. Super nice of you to notice — what is this, layout #73? Haha!

  3. Monika

    Housemate and I just whipped these up and are using their brief cooking time as motivation to finish some work-related tasks… used rye flour as the “whole” flour, fingers crossed it works ok.

      1. Monika

        They were good, I love the chewy texture! Only problem was that I didn’t totally listen to your “leave 2-3 inches” between cookies instructions, and boy do these SPREAD. Ended up with some large, fused cookies. But, delicious, and rye flour worked! Also used chili chocolate instead of plain, which added a great kick. Would definitely make them again.

  4. sara

    I can attest to the amazingness of these cookies. SO good. I agree, I always look forward to Ashley’s posts for her great writing and the fact that she shares tried and true recipes. Her cookies are a force to be reckoned with. Thanks for reminding me to make a batch of these for our decorating time this weekend!!

  5. Jess

    There really is nothing like a real tree – it’s so true. I read Ashely’s blog, but I’m glad you brought these cookies back to my attention – they sound fantastic!

  6. Javier Boros

    This cookie recipe is a good addition to my table this coming holiday. Food and the Christmas decoration is very important to make the holiday really special. Thanks for sharing this chocolate chip cookie recipe to us.

  7. Pingback: Cherry Marquee Ice Cream | Food Loves Writing

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