Chocolate-covered Cherry Delights

by Elaine Pelton

Preheat oven to 350 F, rack in the middle position

1 cup melted butter (2 sticks)                           2 cups white sugar 2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder                             1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon salt                                                         2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup cocoa powder                                                     3 cups flour (not sifted)
2 small, 10-oz. jars of maraschino cherries *
1 pkg. chocolate chips ( 6 oz. pkg. - 2 cups )   1/2 cup condensed sweetened milk

Melt butter and mix in sugar. Let mixture cool and add eggs. Mix it thoroughly and then add baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and cocoa, stirring after each addition. Add flour and mix well. (Dough will be stiff and a bit crumbly. )
Drain cherries and remove stems, reserving juice.
Pat dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers. Place on greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press down in center with thumb to make a deep indentation. (If the health board's around-, use the bowl of a small spoon!) Place one cherry in each indentation.
In a saucepan over simmering water (double boiler) combine the chocolate chips and the condensed milk. Heat on low until the chips are melted. (You can also do this in the microwave-, but you'll have to keep zapping it to keep it from hardening.)
Add approx. 1/8 cup of the reserved cherry juice and stir to a thick sauce. If sauce is too thick, add more juice in small increments. (Test it with a teaspoon. If it doesn't glob off, it's too thick.)
Spoon the sauce over the center of each cookie just enough to cover each cherry. Make sure it doesn't drip down the sides.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to rack to finish cooling.
* For those who don't like cherries, substitute well- drained pineapple tidbits, using the juice to thin the frosting. You can also use pecan halves or macadamia nuts and thin the frosting with cold coffee or water. If you don't have anything to go on top, just glob the chocolate mixture into the indentations. That's good, too.

A plate of these should be in every psychiatrist's office-two Chocolate-Covered Cherry Delights will lift anyone out of a depression.

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