Black forest cookies are inspired by the classic cake flavor, but in a much easier to make form. This chocolate cherry cookie dough is bursting with rich chocolate-y taste to be a hit with the whole family.
As a lover of less-common chocolate pairings, chocolate and orange in chocolate orange cookies, chocolate and cinnamon and cayenne (!) in Mexican chocolate biscotti, and even cocoa powder in my Instant Pot turkey chili, I am *all* about combining chocolate and cherries.
The cherry inside chocolate-coated tartufo? Dried cherries in chocolate chip granola bars? Black forest cake? Yes to all.
These black forest cookies are a nod to their namesake cake, with some less authentic twists. Though there's no Kirsch or whipped cream, you get to enjoy cherries and deep chocolate flavor all in one easy-to-make cookie recipe.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- These chocolate cherry cookies have a great balance of deep chocolate flavor and sweetness, with espresso powder subtly boosting their overall flavor. All of this pairs perfectly with maraschino cherries.
- They're not too cakey. Think of them like a slightly softer, extra chocolate-y version of your favorite chocolate chip cookie.
- Cocoa powder: This is unsweetened, natural cocoa powder (not Dutch process) and is the standard kind you'd find at the grocery store. Natural cocoa powder is more acidic than Dutch process, and that acidity is needed to react with the baking soda.
- Sugar: Beyond only sweetness, using a blend of brown and granulated sugars works to balance both of their benefits: a softer chewiness (brown sugar) and a more structured crispness (granulated).
- Butter: This is softened appropriately when your finger leaves a slight indent when the stick is pressed with light effort. It's too softened when it's very moist and greasy and your finger can easily poke through the stick.
- Cornstarch: This makes the cookies even softer, but isn't essential if you don't have.
- Espresso powder: While optional, just a little bit emphasizes the chocolate flavor in baked goods without providing its own coffee flavor. One of my baking staples.
- Maraschino cherries: Drain and blot these very dry before chopping and adding to the cookie dough from preventing it from becoming too wet.
- White chocolate: A rough (but delicious) stand-in for the whipped cream in black forest cake.
- Once your butter has softened, cream it together with both sugars. This will take around 2 minutes or a bit more, longer than just the time it takes for everything to combine. You want the texture to become lighter, airier, and creamy.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then mix them into the butter/sugar until just combined. Stir in the maraschino cherries and white chocolate.
- Chill the dough for at least two hours, up to overnight. This lessens the stickiness of the dough, with a cold cookie dough working to prevent the cookies from overly spreading as they bake.
- Once chilled, form round cookie dough balls of about one-and-a-half tablespoons of dough per cookie and place them on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, letting them sit on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Waiting until the cookies have cooled entirely before storing prevents condensation from forming inside of the closed container, which can mess with the texture and make the cookies go bad faster.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
These black forest cookies are fairly straight-forward, but here are extra details and whys behind some of the more important steps.
- Blot the cherries dry. As they come in liquid, maraschino cherries need to be blotted dry. I usually do this once I get them whole out of the container, as well as a quick blot once chopped. More moisture in the cookie dough leads to softer cookies that spread more.
- Why warm up the dough after it chills? Letting the dough briefly sit at room temperature after it chills softens it ever so slightly so it's easier to handle. You risk breaking your cookie scoop if you try to shape cookies right away when the dough's too hard.
- Check the signs to know when they're done. All ovens are different, so 10-12 minutes won't necessarily be the same doneness across the board. Look for the outer side edges of the cookies to be firm, with the center tops no longer appearing wet. The top surface can still be easily pressed down with little pressure, but it's no longer wet dough. Taking them out at this time prevents them from overcooking and turning drier/harder. They will firm up some more while they rest on the hot baking sheets out of the oven.
More Chocolate Cookie Recipes
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Black Forest Cookies
- ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup (134g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100g) brown sugar packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups (156g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (41g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup (133g) chopped maraschino cherries blotted dry
- ½ cup (85g) white chocolate chips or chunks
- Add softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar to a mixing bowl and cream using an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture has lightened in color and is fluffed up in texture. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, espresso powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Take care not to overly mix during this stage as that can lead to less tender baked goods.
- Blot as much excess moisture as you can from the maraschino cherries and chop them into smaller pieces. Add them and the white chocolate chips/chunks to the bowl of cookie dough and stir in until evenly distributed.
- Cover the bowl snugly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
- When ready to bake, take the bowl out of the refrigerator to slightly warm up (10 minutes or so) and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop cookie dough using a 1 ½-Tablespoon capacity cookie scoop and place cookies about two inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges have firmed and the very center turns drier looking (it will still be soft and give when lightly pressed). Let the chocolate cherry cookies cool on the baking sheets for 8-10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat for the remaining dough.
- Let the cookie dough sit out of the fridge for around 10 minutes after being chilled so it will be easier to handle. Trying to scoop very hard, chilled dough right away can break your cookie scoop.
- It might seem like you're taking the cookies out of the oven when they're still a bit underdone, but these black forest cookies will cook a bit more as they rest on the baking sheets from the residual heat, as well as harden as they cool on racks.
- Storage: Once cooled completely, store these cookies in an air-tight container or bag with any excess air pressed out. They will stay at room temperature for 4-5 days, but they also freeze well.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer