8 oz. any flavor except Guajillo Chili Taza Chocolate Mexicano discs*
6 oz. milk chocolate, best quality (I recommend Valrhona or El Rey)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup sliced (not slivered) almonds, plus an optional 1/4 cup more for decorating tops
You will also need several sheets of parchment paper to line cookie sheets.
Preheat oven to 350˚
1. Coarsely chop both kinds of chocolate, using sharp knife. (I find a serrated knife works best for this.)
2. Place half the chocolate in a double boiler over barely simmering water, along with the butter, and stir just until melted. Remove upper pan of double boiler from heat, set aside and allow to cool to room temperature (about 20 minutes.)
3. Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. In electric mixer with beater blade, beat eggs until foamy. Beat in vanilla. Add sugar and beat 2-3 minutes, until mixture is thick and pale yellow. Beat in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture and beat 1-2 minutes more, or until thick and uniform in color.
5. Add flour mixture all at once and stir briefly, just until combined. Add remaining chopped chocolate, the cherries and 1 cup almonds. Stir a few times, just folding ingredients together until fairly uniformly distributed. Do not overwork dough.
6. Using a 3/4 oz. cookie scoop, drop batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets in widely-separated mounds. (These will spread while baking, so allow about 9 cookies per sheet.) If desired, sprinkle the tops with a few almond slices.
7. Bake about 15 minutes, or until set: cookies are best if they look dry, but not browned, around the edges.
8. Cool cookies 5 minutes or so on parchment sheets. While still slightly warm, slide off with metal spatula and transfer to racks to cool completely.
*I have never used the Guajillo Chili Tazo chocolate for this recipe. It might be wonderful: certainly worth a try, if you're adventurous.
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