Recently I made a cherry dessert that left me with a cup of leftover juice. It wasn’t enough to make homemade jelly, so what is one to do with a little cherry juice? Add some tart to a smoothie? Make pretty ice cubes? Stain a nice shirt? Anyone? No, there has to be a recipe out there that incorporates some cherry juice into a cookie, right? Internet, here I come. I found lots of recipes using maraschino cherries and their juice, but not a single one using just tart cherry juice. While searching, I also discovered recipes for Italian orange juice cookies and suddenly, the light bulb in my brain began to illuminate. Why not make my own version of juice cookies!?
I printed a recipe from the Italian version, sat down and starting marking my adaptations. Shortening. Check. Sugar. Check. All-purpose flour. How about a mixture of white and wheat to make them healthier? Eggs. Check, oh wait, I have a daughter who is allergic to eggs. I think I will use an egg substitute with flax seed instead. Vanilla Extract. How about almond extract in its place? Cherry and almond go great together! And finally, cherry juice instead of orange juice, but I am sure that any not-from-concentrate juice will do!
Here is a visual of the ingredients. If you are going to make “flax eggs” instead of regular eggs like me, click here to learn how. Also, in one batch (20 cookies), you will need ½ cup of juice.
Start by creaming together ½ cup of shortening and ½ cup sugar. Italian orange juice cookies are typically made with shortening, so that is what I’m using. My favorite brand is Spectrum Non-Hydrogenated. However, if you only have butter, opt for unsalted and keep in mind that your cookies will bake a bit differently.
Now add 3 regular eggs OR 3 flax eggs to the mixer and beat on medium for 10 seconds.
Add one teaspoon of almond extract to ½ cup tart cherry juice or other not-from-concentrate juice and set aside. Make your own adaptations here. If you don’t have almond extract, you can certainly use vanilla, coconut, lemon, maple…use your imagination!
Before adding your juice mixture, combine all your dry ingredients into another bowl and whisk together : 1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup white flours, ½ tsp salt and 1 T. baking powder.
Here comes the most important step! Taking turns, add a little juice mixture and then a little dry mixture. Go back and forth with the mixer turned on low until you have everything incorporated. Then beat on medium-high for 20 seconds. If using cherry juice, the color of these cookies will be a very pale pink. The only way to make them richer in color is to add red food coloring or my favorite, beet juice! But for today, we are going to enjoy these cookies in their natural pale pinkness 🙂
The dough will be very, very sticky. You could add more flour here to make it workable, but the extra flour can often drown out the other flavors. Nobody wants a bland cookie, right? So, here is my little trick…Get a bowl of powdered sugar and drop a spoonful of dough into it.
Generously coat the dough ball and then quickly pass it back and forth between the palms of your hands until nearly all the sugar falls off. What remains is a perfectly formed ball of dough with a very thin and invisible film of sugar holding it together!
Wah-la! Here is a peek into my oven. You will need to bake the dough balls for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until they are slightly golden on the underside and puffed in the middle.
This recipe turned out to be one of a kind! How do they taste? After I took my first bite, I fell into cherry love. They are moist with a touch of crunch. Not too sweet and they have a hint of both cherry and almond flavor. I had a bit more cherry juice leftover and made a quick glaze combining juice and powdered sugar. I drizzled it on top of some of the cookies. Delicious!
Our new favorite way to use up leftover tart cherry juice …Enjoy 🙂
- ½ cup shortening
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 eggs or flax eggs
- ½ cup cherry juice
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 T. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- Powdered sugar
- Cream together ½ cup of shortening and ½ cup sugar.
- Add 3 regular eggs OR 3 flax eggs to the mixer and beat on medium for 10 seconds.
- Combine one teaspoon of almond extract to ½ cup tart cherry juice or other not-from-concentrate juice and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, ½ tsp salt and 1 T. baking powder.
- Taking turns, add a little juice mixture and then a little dry mixture. Go back and forth with the mixer turned on low until you have everything incorporated.
- Beat on medium-high for 20 seconds.
- Since the finished dough will be sticky, plop a ball of sticky dough into a bowl of powdered sugar. Generously coat and then quickly pass it back and forth between the palms of your hands until nearly all the sugar falls off.
- Bake the dough balls for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. The cookies are done when they are slightly golden on the underside and puffed in the middle.
- If a glaze is desired, mix together powdered sugar and more cherry juice.
Meredith is a pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom living in NW Ohio. She loves to adapt recipes to her family’s eclectic tastes and is learning to provide nourishment for any bellies who walk through the door at a moment’s notice. If not in the kitchen, you’ll find Meredith in front of her sewing machine or spending quality time with her home and church families. Life goes by so fast!