I love, love, love making recipes that have been passed down….either through families or from friends. I think eating engages so many senses that memories can’t help but flood your mind when you eat or smell something from your past: where you were when you first had it, who made it for you, who was at the table with you, what you were doing when you first smelled it from the kitchen.
It just so happens that the 2 top requested desserts around our house are just like that. One is my good friend, Aleta’s, Apple Cake (which my husband requested as I wrote this, so I will post really, really soon!) and the other is my Grandma Hons’ Cherry Cookies. Right after Christmas every year, we used to drive 8 hours up to Seymour, Texas to visit the Hons side of our family. Grandma always had a batch of these waiting on us. We weren’t the first generation she made them for, and even though she’s no longer here to make them, I’m happy to say we won’t be the last generation to enjoy them either.
Now, I’m not going to lie, I don’t just love making cookies. I love baking, but making cookies is like doing laundry…I can’t do it all at once, so frankly by the last batch I’ve lost momentum. But my 7 year old especially loves these. And it does this mama’s heart good that he requests them, so I happily oblige.
These are great for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Years and well, Tuesdays. They’re pretty much just good anytime. They’re pretty; they’re yummy; and they’re even simple to bake…so they’re kind of the perfect cookie!
I’m posting her original recipe, but these are such a hit, I always double it to make a total of 45ish cookies.
In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 eggs, ½ c. of Oil, 2 Tbs. of juice from Maraschino Cherries and 1 box of Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme Deluxe Cake Mix. I have tried others, and although they’re all good, I do think Duncan Hines comes out the gooiest…which we love. The Pilsbury like I found today is excellent, but more cake like.
Once the batter is pretty, pink and mixed well, add in 1 cup of chopped nuts. We usually use pecans, but I’m sure walnuts would be good too. Just make sure they’re chopped small. Beat again until well mixed.
On a paper towel lined plate or cutting board, cut about 12 cherries in half. I think Grandma used to quarter them, but my kids always go for the ones with the bigger cherries. I have used whole ones before, too, but found the juice cooks out into the cookie, and makes the cherry fall out of the middle when it’s picked up. Hence, the reason for cutting it on the paper towel and soaking up some of the excess liquid.
Drop by tablespoons onto a cold cookie sheet or baking stone. They will grow quite a bit, so leave some room for Jesus. Put one cherry half, cut side down, in the middle of each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Ooooohhh, my house is smelling so good right about now! It takes me right back to those visits; the pallet I shared with my brother on the bedroom floor, the smell of The Hons Haus, all the inventions Grandpa had in his back shed.
These glorious little bites of cherry Heaven burn very quickly, so watch them close. Take them out before they start to turn brown, and leave them on the pan to cool for a few minutes so the bottoms firm up, but don’t get crispy.
Cool them completely on a cooling rack before transferring to a plate or air tight container (Ours never make it to storage). If you put them in too soon, they mush together…still taste excellent, but they’re not nearly as pretty.
I also highly suggest cooling and washing your pan in between batches. Mostly, it just gives uniformity and keeps your bottoms from cooking faster than your tops. Like I said, I’m not terribly patient with multiple batches of anything, but this has proven to be a pretty important step for these cookies especially.
Doubling the original recipe gave me exactly 45 cookies today. That number varies depending on some very scientific factors….mostly how much of the batter gets eaten in the process. We were good today…so we got a full 45.
I get asked for this recipe almost every time I make them. And I’m always happy to share. It may be a small part of her legacy, but I’m sure Grandma Hons would be happy to share too. I’m also sure she’d be happy to see how excited her great grandson was when he walked in the door after school today and found a plate full of her cookies on the counter!
Here’s the short version:
- 1 package of Duncan Hines Strawberry Supreme Deluxe Cake Mix
- ½ cup of Oil
- 1 jar of Maraschino cherries, halved
- 2 Tbs juice from the Maraschino Cherries
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Chopped Nuts
- In a large mixing bowl, mix cake mix, oil, eggs, and cherry juice.
- Add in nuts and mix well.
- Cut each cherry in half on a paper towel lined plate or cutting board.
- Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet.
- Place one half cherry, cut side down, in the middle of each cookie.
- Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
- Cool completely and enjoy!!