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Sweet Cherries and Chocolate Shortbread

Sweet Cherrie Season

Time to take advantage of juicy sweet cherry season. This dessert is made with a cherry's two best friends, chocolate and red wine. The cherries are also perfect layered in a parfait with the mascarpone or spooned over French vanilla ice cream or triple chocolate gelato. Upgrade your brunch by ladling them over chocolate pancakes or waffles. From pound cake to pudding, the possibilities are unlimited.

Poached Cherries with

Mascarpone and Chocolate Shortbread

2 ¼ cups dry red wine

1 cup sugar

1 3" strip orange or lemon peel, reserve extra peel for garnish

2 pounds Bing or sweet cherries, pitted and halved

1 cup mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons honey or ¼ cup powdered sugar

Pit the cherries in your sink to keep the mess and staining to a minimum. Bring wine, sugar and peel to a boil in a large saucepan. Add cherries and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered until cherries are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and take out the peel.

Whip mascarpone and honey or powdered sugar together until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spoon cherries (warm or cold) into glass dessert bowls, top with a dollop of mascarpone and a thin strip of lemon or orange peel. You can also spoon the mascarpone into bowls first and then ladle the cherries over the top. Serve with a couple of chocolate shortbreads on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Chocolate Shortbread

1 cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa (Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger)

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

5 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

¼ cup vegetable oil

Sift together flour, cocoa and salt. Cream sugar, butter and oil until smooth. Stir in flour mixture and mix with hands to combine. Gather dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Shape dough into an 8" x 4" rectangle, about ½" thick. Prick all over the surface with a fork and lightly score 12 or 24 bars with the blunt side of a knife. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until edges just begin to brown. Remove from oven and gently cut the cookies along the pre-scored lines. Allow to cool on a rack before serving or cool completely and store in an airtight container for several days.Makes 12 or 24 bars.

Please note that there will be no scheduled Gourmet Shortcuts cooking classes during the summer. As always, custom private and group classes and cooking class parties can be booked at any time. My cooking show and clips "Gourmet Shortcuts" airs on the Groton Channel (online at, Charter channel 191 & Verizon channel 40).

All previously published Gourmet Shortcuts recipes can be found at under "Sally Meddock Smith". Any questions or comments may be sent to, Gourmet Shortcuts on Facebook or posted online at

Groton Herald

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P.O. Box 610, Groton, Massachusetts 01450

161 Main Street, Groton, Massachusetts 01450
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Telephone: 978-448-6061

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