Buried Cherry Cookies

These classic, rich chocolate cookies have a hidden maraschino cherry in the center. The baked frosting is crazy delicious.

Update December 13, 2013: I really do make these cookies every single year, so I thought I would snap a few pictures that aren’t quite so awful. I included one of the old shots at the bottom, just for memory’s sake.

Buried Cherry Cookies

My brother Nathan would probably kill a man for these cookies.  Okay not really, he would probably only maim or injure, but the point is that anytime I want him to do anything I just have to make these cookies and it’s done.  I sound like a mafia boss. Don’t worry your children are safe.

Buried Cherry Cookies

I’m usually not into maraschino cherries, but my friend Sarah made these a couple years back and I fell in love.  I never would have picked out the recipe myself, which is why it’s good to have friends who bake.  What’s not to love about a dense chocolate cookie covered in chocolate glaze, plus a surprise in the middle?

Buried Cherry Cookies

I make these every year for Nathan’s birthday, which is coming up soon.  I’ve always felt bad for Nate because his birthday usually falls during finals week, when he has no time to relax.  (I don’t take shortcuts.  If my birthday was during finals week I never would have graduated. But Nate is a much harder worker than I am.)  So instead of being birthday cookies they usually end up being I need to jam 3 of these in my mouth right now because I have a test in 2 hours that I have not started studying for yet, a presentation tomorrow morning at 8am and a final project due the next day, details for which still need to be finalized with my group.  Again, I’m realizing that this probably never happened to Nate.

Buried Cherry Cookies

One time I made a big batch of these and joined Nate who was studying in the library.  We sat in the “sh zone” (as opposed to the “no sh zone”) and probably made just about everyone in the room want to sh us, but it’s BYU so they were too nice to say anything.  In appreciation, we offered cookies to the poor souls trying to study at the same table with us, laughing our butts off about nothing in particular and making a huge ruckus.  Everything is a lot more funny when you are supposed to be studying, but have really in your secret heart completely given up on the prospect.

Buried Cherry Cookies

I think Nate and I together (along with some new table friends) ate the entire batch, like over 50 cookies.  All this in a library that does not allow food.  I smuggled them in in my backpack. (BYU Police, I wasn’t the only one.  Taco Bell wrappers don’t randomly appear in library trash cans.)

Happy birthday Nathan!

Buried Cherry Cookies

Buried Cherry Cookies

Yield: Makes about 45 small cookies


  • 1 or 2 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries* (about 45 cherries)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (about half a can) sweetened condensed milk


  1. Drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Lay the cherries out onto paper towels to let them dry off a little bit.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer (or with stand mixer) until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another minutes, scraping the sides.
  3. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in the cocoa powder, and then the flour until it is just combined. If you are using an electric mixer you might need to do this by hand.
  4. Chill the dough in the fridge for about an hour.
  5. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on a silpat or parchement paper-lined cookie sheet. Press your thumb into the center of each ball. Place a dried-off cherry in each center.
  6. For frosting, in a small saucepan combine chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Cook and stir over medium low heat until chocolate melts. Stir in 4-5 teaspoons of the reserved cherry juice. (Or as much as you want until it is the consistency you like).
  7. Spoon 1 teaspoon frosting over each cherry, spreading to cover. Use 2 spoons: one teaspoon for scooping chocolate, and the other for scraping it off the first spoon onto the cookie. The frosting will be harder to work with the cooler it gets. I like to leave the saucepan on the heat on low so that the frosting stays workable.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.


*The maraschino cherry people must be trying to cut costs. The original recipe calls for 1 10-ounce jar, but lately they have been having fewer and fewer cherries in them. The first jar I used for this recipe only had 28, so I had to open another one. Buy two to be safe, and use the leftovers for sundaes. Alternatively, you could buy one jar and split some of the cherries in half. One more thing: You really do want 1 inch balls of dough. Any larger and they will start to spread weird when you bake them.


Source: Slightly adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Buried Cherry Cookies


Work that thumb.

Buried Cherry CookiesUse 2 spoons to get the frosting onto the cookie. This takes a bit of cajoling and spreading. Keep your frosting as hot as you can.

Buried Cherry CookiesAnd they are ready to bake!IMG_1272

Flashback :)
Look at this little thief!  Don’t worry I took it away before she actually had any.  I’m keeping the magic of sugar a secret a while longer yet.





  1. says

    Oh my! I am with you on the cherries…not a fan. However, Pat loves them, so I think I will be baking a batch for him for his January birthday. I know he will love it! :)
    I could so picture the two of you laughing your heads off in the library!

  2. janice says

    you took a cookie out of the hands of that adorable little child? oh my gosh. action must be taken. [also, i can’t believe you got a picture AND got the cookie before she bit it!]

  3. Helen says

    I tried making these for my son who loves chocolate covered cherries. i wanted to surprise him, but the surprise was on me. The cookies spread all over and the cherries just sunk to the bottom. Any idea what I did wrong?

    • says

      Helen, this is so embarrassing! I can’t believe I never saw this. I’m so sorry I never responded. My son was born just a few days before you made this comment, and I guess I never saw it, what with all the newborn-stuff going on. Obviously you made these cookies months ago, so this is no help to you, but if you ever decide to make them again, I have a few suggestions: 1) Check the expiration dates on your baking powder and soda. Both of them have a shelf-life, so check to make sure you are using fresh stuff, otherwise your cookies won’t rise. 2) Chill your dough. This will make them spread slower in the oven. 3) Spoon and level your flour. Always! Heavy-handed scooping can mean way too much flour in the recipe. 4) Use a scant teaspoon of the frosting. I know getting the frosting on those cherries is tricky business, but just try not to overdo it, it will weigh down the cookies and make them spread. That’s all I can think of. These remain as one of my favorite Christmas cookies, I make them every single year. Let me know if you try them, and again, I’m so sorry I never responded to you! Thanks for your feedback!

  4. Teri says

    I’m just wondering if you’ve ever tried freezing these. If not, how long do they keep? I tried them last year at Christmas (a friend made them) and I loved them, so I’m planning on making some for the first time. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Teri! I’ve never tried freezing these before, but I think it would work just fine. These cookies are pretty forgiving. Set all the cookies on a baking sheet and freeze for about an hour, then dump them all in a ziplock and put it back in the freezer. You could also certainly freeze the dough. Hope it works out Teri!


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