Michigan! Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookie Recipe

Why did it take us so long?  Our friends, J and L, had been asking us for years to come and visit them in Michigan, but somehow the timing just wasn’t right till last weekend.

The farther north we drove, the more beautiful it became.  The pine forests became more dense, the air filled with their invigorating scent.  The hills became more steep and the land became filled with orchards.  Miles and miles of orchards; cherry, apple, apricot, pear. By the time we got to the clear waters of Lake Michigan, we were hooked!  We hadn’t even gotten out of the car and we were in love with the area.

Their charming, sun filled house sits right on the water facing east towards the sunrise.  Although, the weather was to supposed to be rainy, we were in for a big surprise…a beautiful sunrise, followed by a fairly sunny day that became a bit windy….and that meant that we could sail!

They asked us what we wanted to do/see before sailing,  and I said that I would like to see the orchards “up close and personal”.  We climbed in the car and went for a drive through rolling hills dotted with cherry trees heavy with their ripe bounty.

That day, we also had the chance to see how cherries are harvested.  I had no idea that a machine shakes the harvest from the tree…it pulls up to the tree, grabs it, shakes it and the cherries fall and are gathered up and transported in water filled bins (so that they aren’t damaged).

We were told that the tart cherries grown in Leelanau County are 75% of the nation’s crop and that it ranks number one for cherry trees and acreage….wow!  That is over a million trees, no wonder I was so impressed!

Our friends are expert sailors so we were in for a treat.  I had never been for a “real” sail before and was a bit apprehensive, but they put me at ease right away because it was evident that they are extremely knowledgeable and also very safety conscious.  The first question I was asked after stepping aboard was “Would I like a life jacket?”.

The sun came out, the wind picked up and we were off on our sail.  We were very interested in learning about sailing and they were gracious enough to answer all of our questions.  By the end of the sail, we still could not have manned the boat, but we knew a lot more than when we boarded.

L is a superb cook and treated us to lovely meals.  I don’t think that there are many hosts and hostesses that are as indulgent as they are.  They even sent us home with a cherry themed “goodie bag” of treats from the area.  When I spied the pack of dried cherries I said, “Oh, I’ll have to think of a great recipe to use these”, and L told me about one from 2007 that was in Gourmet Magazine.  When I got home, I found this recipe on the internet that I adapted, and I believe this is the one to which she was referring.

Inspired by their hospitality, I have an idea for when your guests come over to share Sunday Supper.  Why don’t you send them home with their own personal little “goodie bag” filled with these cookies?  My great aunt used to do that, she would send you home with flowers from her garden and a treat from her kitchen.  What a wonderful way to continue sharing smiles with your family and friends all week!



Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies

Yield: 24 Cookies

Prep Time: 25 Minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
3 1/2 oz. fine quality milk (or dark) chocolate, cut into small chunks, about 1/2 inch
1 cup of pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried Michigan tart cherries


Before you start, please note the importance of toasting the pecans. To do this, preheat oven to 350, spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes then stir and toast for another 5 minutes. Please watch them carefully, so that they do not burn.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, making sure that you position the racks in the upper and lowers thirds of your oven.

In a medium bowl, whisk the first 5 ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and cinnamon) together until mixture is well blended.

In a separate large bowl, add the softened butter together with the brown sugar then using a hand held blender set on the medium/high setting, blend until mixture is fluffy and lighter in color.

Slowly blend in the flour mixture into the butter mixture till incorporated. Do not over blend.

Then fold in the chocolate, pecans and the cherries.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop approximately 2 tablespoons of dough onto two cookie sheets that have not been greased.

If your oven bakes evenly, bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes. If your oven bakes in an uneven manner, please bake them for 6-7 minutes then switch the positions in the oven front to back so that cookies will brown evenly. Bake for an additional 6-7 minutes till done.

Immediately transfer cookies to cooling rack. Cool and serve!
If you are going to put them in gift bags like I did, please make sure that they are thoroughly cooled before placing them into your bags.



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