These classic, rich chocolate Buried Cherry Cookies have a hidden maraschino cherry in the center. The baked frosting is crazy delicious. You just can’t get enough!

Buried Cherry Cookies

Originally posted December 7, 2011

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.

Maraschino cherry on uncooked chocolate dough

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?

Cross-cut of buried cherry cookie

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.

Maraschino cherries next to chocolate cookie

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 on cooling rack

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


How to make Buried Cherry Cookies

You start by rolling the dough into small balls, about 1/2 inch thick, and lay them out on your cookie pan.

Thumb pressing down chocolate cookie dough

Then you press them down with your thumb. Leave an indentation where you bury the cherries. Work that thumb!

Dropping chocolate ganache on cookies

Add the cherries. Then use 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.

Completed cookies before going in oven

And they are ready to bake!

Buried Cherry Cookie with bite taken out

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.


Buried Cherry Cookies

5 from 7 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 45 Cookies
These classic, rich chocolate Buried Cherry Cookies have a hidden maraschino cherry in the center. The baked frosting is crazy delicious. You just can't get enough!


  • 10 ounces maraschino cherries*, 1 jar, 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 sweetened condensed milk, about half a can


  • Drain the cherries, reserving the juice. Lay the cherries out onto paper towels to let them dry off a little bit.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chill the dough in the fridge for about an hour.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 82IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 99
Keyword: Cake Cookies, cherry
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!


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  1. 5 stars
    These look AMAZING! I know I’m a little late to the game here, but what kind of unsweetened cocoa do you use? Natural or Dutch-Processed?

    Many many thanks!

    1. Hi Paula! I make huge quadruple batches of this recipe every single Christmas, you are not late to the game! I always use regular natural cocoa powder. Let me know if you try the Dutch! Enjoy!

  2. These are really amazing! We used a GF flout blend, since my daughter Karren has Gluten Fog & a molecule of gluten robs her of her memory for about 5 days. They worked really well! I love how so many of your cookie recipes can be kept in the fridge and baked as needed. I did that all through my children’s high school days. They would call home & say, “I’m bringing ___ people home for lunch,” and I would throw that many cookies into the oven. I like the homemade SO much better than the store bought rolls of dough!

    Thank You for having a GF section! We’ve had lots of experience at this point, but it’s always lovely to find some new ideas! I don’t think you’re a charlatan. A charlatan is a pretender, and you are VERY knowledgeable! Your things always turn out terrifically well! I made your Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Dough this morning, it’s chillin in the fridge until tomorrow morning, when it will again be cool enough to bake.

    We also adore Indian food, and I’m excited to try your chicken in coconut thing!

    I just wish I knew how to make those blueberry filled lemon cookies. So delicious, but probably pretty hard to do.

    I love your site, and am so glad I found it! Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write this sweet comment Dana! I’m so happy to hear these cookies worked well with a GF blend, that is great to know. I don’t bake gf that often but when I do it’s nice to not have to test a hundred recipes! That is such a good idea putting cookies in the oven when your kid’s friends come over. Makes your house the “it” spot :) I hope you love the PB oatmeal cookies too!

      And I googled the blueberry lemon filled cookies. Is this what you’re talking about?

      Because those sound AMAZING and now I’m on a mission to make it happen. I’ve never heard of them! Excited to get testing!!

      1. Yup, those are the ones! Right now in my fridge I have a roll of chocolate chip cookie dough, sugar cookie dough, your WONDERFUL PB oatmeal cookie dough, and your Incredible chocolate cookie dough (for Hidden Cherry Cookies.) (These are all GF, and homemade!) But my husband’s favorite flavor is lemon, and I have to BUY that cookie dough. They are SO tasty, but I wish I could make the dough instead!

        Happy Summer Week!

        1. Whoa I want to come over to your house, cookie central! That sounds amazing! I’ve been thinking about the lemon cookies, I’m going to try them out!

  3. 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!

    1. 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!

  4. 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?

    1. 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!

  5. 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!]

  6. 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!

    1. If you don’t like cherries leave them out of a few when you make this. The cookies are still really good without them :)

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