Cherry-Chocolate Kiss Cookies

 A simple change from the typical Peanut Blossom cookies, these have a nice light cherry flavor with the punch of chocolate.  I'm not a fan of maraschino cherries but I like these cookies.

You can see from the photo, I typically push the chocolate kiss down while it's still warm.  I find them easier to eat, making it a Cherry-Chocolate Cookie {minus the kiss}.

Cherry-Chocolate Kiss Cookies
 makes about 48 cookies

1 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Maraschino Cherry Liquid
1/4 teaspoon Almond or 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 Cups Flour
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Maraschino Cherries, Drained and Chopped (I find the pitted ones MUCH easier to work with)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
About 48 Milk Chocolate Candy Kisses, unwrapped
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put the granulated sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the powdered sugar, cherry liquid, and extract.  Beat until combined.  Add the flour and salt and beat until combined - use a spoon to stir in the remaining flour if necessary.  Stir in the cherries.
Shape Dough into 1" balls (or use a cookie dough scoop).  Roll each ball in the granulated sugar and then place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass or other flat object.
Bake 12 - 14 minutes or until you can see that the lower edge is a light golden brown.  Be careful not to over-bake.
Once they've been removed from the oven quickly top each cookie with a chocolate kiss, pressing gently into the cookie.  Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.  **After they've cooled for 3-5 minutes, I push the chocolate kiss down with my finger because I find it easier to eat.** 
Keep in a sealed container at room temperature up to 1 week or in a freezer-safe container up to 3 months.

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