Baker Ashley Swider turns out all-natural indulgences such as Cherry Bombs, which combine dark chocolate with tart dried cherries for rich, but not too sweet, flavor. Photographs by Amie Olson
February 9, 2011
Rich in Love Ashley Swider of yesUmay Cookies shares a Valentine’s Day treat that’ll make your sweetheart swoon
written by Anna Evans
In the joyful world of yesUmay Cookies—where all-natural ingredients range from classic oatmeal, chocolate, and buttercream to unexpected goji berries, curry, and lavender—desserts feed not only the belly, but the soul. “I eat cookies every day because I believe in overall wellness. They make me happy, and I want to share that with others,” says Ashley Swider, owner of the Mount Pleasant shop, which opened last September. And considering her spread-the-love approach, who better than this longtime baker (she learned by working with her parents in the kitchen) to share a Valentine’s Day cookie recipe?
“A wonderfully rich, but not overly sweet, cookie that’s really easy to make is the Cherry Bomb,” says Swider. Based on one of her favorite candies, this creation marries chocolate—look for one that’s at least 60 percent dark cocoa, such as Schokinag—and organic dried cherries. “I use Whole Foods’ 365 brand. You’ll be able to taste the chemicals on processed versions,” she notes.
“The recipe itself is really straightforward,” she continues. “Just make sure you use an electric mixer at a low speed. A high setting will whip the dough too much, causing the cookies to turn out flat.” And that’s the last thing you want when cooking up Valentine’s Day romance.
(Makes approx. 20 cookies)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries
Using an electric mixer on low speed, combine butter and sugars for about 10 seconds, or until mixture is lumpy, with butter not fully mixed in. Add eggs and vanilla and mix for another 10 seconds. Add flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda and mix until dough is firm but sticky.
Add dark chocolate chips and cherries. Mix for five to 10 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Using a 1/4-cup ice-cream scoop or measuring cup, place dough onto a greased baking sheet. Use heel of hand to flatten dough to about one-third inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies an inch and a half apart. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until center no longer looks gooey, rotating tray halfway through baking.