Introduction: BON BON COOKIES!
Well, its that time of year...the time to remind folks how much they mean to us....with COOKIES!!!
When I was a kid, I didn't have a lot of money to get presents for all my friends, for the people I wanted to wish a happy holiday season. So, I asked my mom if I could take over the kitchen and make some cookies. Being a great mom, and not knowing what chaos was to ensue, she said "Of course, honey." ---I think when I came home with a couple of bags of flour and sugar, several pounds of butter, a few 18-egg cartons, and a couple of bags of spices she may have had other thoughts. But she quietly watched (and made sure I didn't burn the house down).
One of my favourite cookies to make became a favourite for folks to receive: The Bon Bon Cookie!
It's super simple and fun to make. Ready?
Okay, this part is pretty easy:
First, use the your favourite sugar cookie recipe for the dough recipe. That way you know how the basic dough should taste before you start to add a few modifications and goodies. The cool thing is, once you see how easy it is, you can play with the recipe and adjust for your taste!
Next, for your first attempt at this awesome cookie, start small with the additions: Almond extract/flavouring for the dough, and maraschino cherries for the inside. EASY!
***If you have a nut allergy, feel free to use imitation almond, or try Vanilla.
Lastly, your preference for topping: Powdered sugar (my favourite), store bought icing, chocolate dip...
Step 1: MAKING THE DOUGH
As I mentioned in the opening, simply make your favourite sugar cookie dough. The only exception is that you want to add the flavouring to the dough. My suggestion is to add it with the eggs. I VERY lightly beat the eggs and the flavouring, together, prior to adding them to the dry ingredients. Two teaspoons of flavouring is where I usually start - you want to be able to get the flavour in the dough, so you know how the cookie will turn out.
Also, if you'd like to add some food colouring to the dough for fun, go for it! I often make the dough green. With the red cherry on the inside and a sprinkling of powdered sugar on the top, its a very traditional holiday colour theme.
***If your oven takes a while to heat up, start the preheat now: 350 degrees.
Step 2: THE FILLING
Maraschino cherries should be in either the baking section or canned/preserved fruit section of your local grocery store. I buy the biggest jar I can, but for a normal batch of sugar cookie dough, the 16 oz. jar should suffice. Oddly, at some places you can purchase maraschino cherries in blue, green and even yellow! Feel free to let your holiday spirit come out in any colour you choose!
The trick to a good cherry-filled Bon Bon Cookie is making sure to DRAIN AND "DRY" the cherries. If there is too much moisture, the cookies won't turn out...sad face =(
Although I call this the second step, you can definitely start this process prior to making the dough - in fact, I recommend it.
To drain: Set a colander in the sink. Open the jar of cherries and gently pour it in to the colander (careful, the juice can stain clothes and porous surfaces). Slowly roll the cherries around and allow to drain for a good five minutes.
To dry: Once your cherries have drained for a few minutes, place them on a clean kitchen towel, or some stacked paper towels. The towels will pull more moisture from the cherries. After a few minutes, roll the cherries around a bit to see if a different position will get out more of the juice. Allow them to sit for a few more minutes.
***I always use the de-stemmed cherries, but some folks think its fun to have the stem sticking out of the cookie. I just think its easier to roll the dough without worrying about it!
Step 3: CONSTRUCTION, PHASE ONE!
Once the cherries are fairly dry, the fun begins.
For each Bon Bon you'll need enough dough to easily cover the cherry. I usually start with a good tablespoon or so, and adjust from that point, depending on the size of the cherries.
Simply push the dough in to your palm, creating a little indentation for the cherry. Place the cherry in the indentation, and pull the dough around to cover it up. Give it a little roll to shape it to round, and drop it on the cookie sheet (they don't have to be perfectly round for it to work - check the photos). Place the Bon Bons about 1.5 to 2 inches apart to allow even heating.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven, cook for 12-15 minutes. You should start to see a very faint browning on the bottom of the cookie. Remove the sheet and let sit for a minute or so. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish the cooling process.
***Remember: Cooking times vary depending on the oven, the dough, and even the altitude - so keep an eye on those precious goodies!
Step 4: CONSTRUCTION, PHASE TWO - FINAL TOUCHES
If you have made it this far without taste testing - I'm impressed and also a little shocked. I suggest trying one without anything on top of it, so you can truly appreciate the "basic" cookie. Also, it gives you an idea about what kind, and how much, of a final touch you might want to use.
As I mentioned, earlier, this is the part where you can have a little fun. Top off these awesome cookies with as little or as much decoration as you wish. The kiddos can help with a dusting of powdered sugar or basic icing and sprinkles, or you can really dress them up by dunking them in chocolate and creating works of art. The best part is: THEY'LL ALL TASTE GREAT!
Step 5: BE CREATIVE! AND SHARE!
I love this basic recipe. But I have had lots of fun experimenting over the years. Some folks actually don't like maraschino cherries! I've put all kinds of treats in the middle of this great cookie: Hershey's Kisses, peanut butter, peanut butter cups, chocolate chips INSIDE a maraschino cherry, nuts and marshmallows, even chocolate covered gummy bears! Although, admittedly, the gummy bear experiment didn't look as great - the point is, play! This cookie can be seen around many a holiday and birthday...let your imagination run wild.
Making cookies always brings back good memories for me. And giving them away creates new ones. I hope the same is true for you.
Thanks for reading (and hopefully voting for) my first Instructable!