It’s easy to complain about the winter.
About dry skin and expensive heating bills and how it takes 10 minutes and five layers to get dressed before going outside (tack on an additional half hour if you’ve got a little loaf in toe). While December’s a lovely month because you have good food and good company to look forward to all month long, January and early February’s got nothing. The first few months of the year are for trying to get rid of all that good food. And as for the good company, quite frankly, you might be tired of them all and more in the mood for holing yourself up inside until the snow and ice finally melt.
Yes, it’s easy to be grumpy in the winter. To put on your crabby pants and crabby face and complain about how the birds no longer come to visit. And how you can’t go outside without falling down on the ice rink that used to be your walkway and bruising one cheek or the other. Which is where a cookie conveniently comes into the picture.
A winter funk cookie, to be exact.
A winter funk cookie must be chunky. It must be plain to look at, satisfying to eat, and easy to carry around the house while you’re pretending to get stuff done. Nuts would be good in a winter funk cookie. Preferably pecans. And definitely some chocolate. Milk, because adding dark or white would make it a pretentious winter funk cookie. Oh, and dried cherries. Because with just the nuts and chocolate, it wouldn’t be a winter funk cookie. It would just be a chocolate chip cookie with nuts.
This is a Martha Stewart recipe every so slightly tweaked. Not only do I turn to Martha because she’s a fellow August 3rd birthday buddy, I turn to Martha because her baked good recipes always turn out well. These are chewy, dense, and really easy to eat an entire plate. The perfect cookie to eat with your third cup of morning coffee. The perfect cookie to throw together when you’re the weather’s making you feel a little bit glum.
Winter Funk Cookies
Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe
*makes about one dozen large cookies
1 cup (40 g) dried cherries
1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
8 tablespoons (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 oz/170 g) coarsely chopped milk chocolate
1/2 cup (3.5 oz/100 g) coarsely chopped pecans
1. Place dried cherries in a small bowl, and cover with the boiling water to plump them; let stand until ready to add to cookie dough.
2. Preheat oven to 350F/175C degrees with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and both sugars. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add egg and vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Beat in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in cherries, chocolate, and pecans. The batter should be stiff.
4. Form large balls of dough with either a spoon, ice cream scoop or your hands. Place the balls of dough about 4 inches apart on the baking sheets, 6 on each sheet. Bake until golden and just set, rotating the sheets between the oven racks halfway through baking to ensure even browning, about 15 minutes. Transfer sheets to a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring cookies to rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.