Cherry Cheese­cake Cook­ies (recipe on page 148)

AND CEL­E­BRA­TION EX­PLO­SION CAKE

Food & Drink - - COMBINATION CELEBRATION -

Pretty lit­tle cook­ies that cap­ture the flavour of cherry cheese­cake in a two-bite taste sen­sa­tion are a lovely ac­com­pa­ni­ment to a cup of cof­fee. The cook­ies, rolled in gra­ham crack­ers, are crisp on the out­side and soft in the cen­tre. You can bake the cook­ies and make the top­ping ahead, but as­sem­ble them up to 2 hours be­fore serv­ing so they don’t soften too much. If you’re pressed for time, a store-bought pie fill­ing for the top­ping will do in a pinch.

COOK­IES

8 square gra­ham crack­ers (ap­prox.)

2 cups (500 mL) all-pur­pose flour

½ tsp (2 mL) bak­ing pow­der

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

6 oz (170 g) brick-style cream cheese, soft­ened ¼ cup (60 mL) but­ter, soft­ened

¾ cup (175 mL) gran­u­lated su­gar

1 egg

1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla ex­tract

FILL­ING

1 cup (250 mL) drained sour cher­ries from a jar or thawed frozen sour cher­ries (see TIP on page 148) ½ cup (125 mL) cherry juice from a jar or re­served from thaw­ing, or wa­ter, di­vided ¼ cup (60 mL) gran­u­lated su­gar

4 tsp (20 mL) corn­starch

⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) al­mond ex­tract

(or ¼ tsp/1 mL vanilla)

1 For the cook­ies, pre­heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line 2 bak­ing sheets with parch­ment pa­per or bak­ing mats.

2 Place gra­ham crack­ers in a re­seal­able plastic bag and gently crush with the bot­tom of a mea­sur­ing cup to make coarse crumbs (some will be­come fine crumbs). Trans­fer to a bowl.

3 Com­bine flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, us­ing elec­tric mixer, beat cream cheese, but­ter and su­gar un­til smooth and creamy. Beat in egg, lemon juice and vanilla un­til blended. Stir in flour mix­ture, in 2 ad­di­tions, un­til a soft dough forms.

4 Scoop a rounded tbsp (15 mL-plus) of dough for each cookie and roll into a ball. Roll in gra­ham crumbs, squeez­ing to ad­here. Place on pre­pared bak­ing sheets, at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart. 5 Use the back of a deep spoon to flat­ten balls and make an in­dent in the cen­tre. Dip the back of the spoon in crumbs if it gets sticky. Re­frig­er­ate for 15 min­utes.

6 Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for about 20 min­utes or un­til cook­ies are slightly puffed and feel firm to the touch. Let cool com­pletely on a wire rack. (Store in a cookie tin at room tem­per­a­ture for up to 2 days.)

7 For the fill­ing, com­bine cher­ries, ¼ cup (60 mL) of the juice and su­gar in a small saucepan. Bring to a sim­mer over medium heat, stir­ring to dis­solve su­gar and mash­ing cher­ries slightly. If us­ing frozen cher­ries, sim­mer for 3 to 4 min­utes or un­til cher­ries are soft­ened.

8 Whisk corn­starch into re­main­ing cherry juice and stir into saucepan. Cook, stir­ring, for about 3 min­utes or un­til bub­bling and thick­ened. Re­move from heat and stir in al­mond ex­tract. Trans­fer to a bowl, place plastic wrap di­rectly on the sur­face and let cool com­pletely. (Store in the re­frig­er­a­tor for up to 2 days.)

9 Up to 2 hours be­fore serv­ing, spoon cherry fill­ing on top of cook­ies.

Makes about 24 cook­ies

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