I need to tell you about these Christmas treasure drop cookies, because I think you need them in your life.
Two years ago my mom and I started entering the Star Tribune’s Holiday Cookie Contest. We brainstorm. We bake. We taste test. By the end of the day the kitchen is covered in flour and we have sugar pulsing through our veins. It is always so much fun.
This year for the contest we made these Christmas treasure drop cookies based off of the classic treasure chest bars, one of my mom’s favorite Christmas treats. When my mom first brought up the idea I was a bit skeptical. Maraschino cherries in cookies? Umm… not sure about that, but I said we could try it as long as we used brown butter in the cookie dough. She agreed to my terms and we tried it out.
OH MY GOODNESS. I am not lying to you when I say that these are some of the best Christmas cookies ever. EVERRRR.
Who knew that maraschino cherries, toasted walnuts, chocolate chips, and brown butter would taste so magical together?!?
But now I do and I need to share this with you.
The cookie dough itself isn’t overly sweet, but gets a crazy amount of flavor from the brown butter and is packed full of maraschino cherries, toasted walnuts, and chocolate chips. Oh, and love too. There is a lot of love in these cookies. Let the dough sit in the fridge for at least an hour (but overnight is best) so that all these flavors can meld together. I kid you not, the extra time is totally worth it.
After being baked and cooled these cookies are topped with a brown butter frosting. No Christmas cookie is quite complete without some sort of frosting. Right? Yes. Plus, the frosting helps get these cookies up to that perfect level of sweetness and also amplifies the brown butter taste in the dough.
We didn’t win the contest, but in the process we had a blast and discovered our new favorite Christmas cookie (these ones if that wasn’t obvious). Our first two years we made the honorable mention with these and these. This year we just got mentioned – still fun!
This year I was able to join in on The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen. Hundreds of food bloggers participate each year and help raise money for Cookies For Kid’s Cancer. I was so excited to be a part of it this year!
I instantly knew that these Christmas treasure drop cookies were the ones that I needed to send out. I baked up and bunch and sent out a dozen each to Bree from Baked Bree, Amanda from Fun in the Oven Blog, and Faith from Pixie Dust Kitchen.
I had such a fun time being a part of this cookie swap! I loved sending out the boxes (I rarely mail things, so it just seemed so exciting). I loved getting all the packages and eating (and sharing) all the cookies. And I loved getting the opportunity to connect with other bloggers. The whole experience was such a treat.
So anyways, these Christmas treasure drop cookies. Please make them! I promise you won’t regret it.
Also, all the other food bloggers that participated in the cookie swap will be posting their cookie recipes today too, so make sure to check out all the links above. A full list of ALL 500+ the cookie submissions will be sent out on Friday. Get excited. But be careful, you may end up drooling all over your keyboard…
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 15 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ice cube
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-10oz jar maraschino cherries, quartered
- 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
- ¼ cup brown butter (included in butter quantity listed for the cookies)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- To toast the nuts: spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Stir them around occasionally (every 5 minutes or so) to ensure they are not burning. Once toasted, set aside.
- To brown the butter: melt butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk the melted butter until brown specks appear at the bottom, it will froth and foam a bit. Watch closely and be careful not to burn. It should be a light brown color and have a nutty aroma. Place ½ cup of the browned butter into a heatproof bowl and whisk in an ice cube. This will be used for the cookies. Place the remaining ¼ cup aside to use for the frosting.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the ½ cup brown butter and the sugars. Mix on medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth and combined, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the nuts, maraschino cherries, and chocolate chips.
- Let the dough sit in the refrigerated for one hour or overnight.
- Place scoops of cookie dough onto the prepared pans. Bake for 8-11 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Make the frosting while the cookies are cooling. Place the remaining ¼ cup brown butter, 1 ½ cup of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla into a mixing bowl. Beat on medium until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add in the remaining sugar ¼ cup at a time until the frosting has reached your desired consistency. It should be thick enough to easily spread.
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, spread a nice layer of frosting on each one. Serve and enjoy!