Thursday, 13 February 2014

Cola and Cherry Cookies


Baking is seriously good for my soul I think.  It had been nearly a month since I last got a chance (or the energy) to bake something and once I managed to get myself into the kitchen and under way with this bake it felt wonderful.  I have not felt so great in quite a while.  There has been a lot of serious de-motivation going on.  Very serious.  Which then leads to brooding and lack of doing anything.  Not good.  So!  Nothing like a baking challenge to get your groove back, even if just some of it.

Well, being the second Thursday of the month, it is time for the Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge!  The ingredients: Cola and Cherry.

Okay, so this time it wasn't entirely new territory for me.  I have done something with cola before, but not cherry.  However, I remember it being a very popular combination.  A lot of the cola recipes I saw back when I did the Float Cupcakes were cola and cherry.  And of course it is a flavour sold by Coca-Cola.  So I was up for the task of creating something with the flavours.

Since I have made cola cakes previously, I did not feel like doing that again for this challenge.  I wanted to do biscuits!  But how to combine the two flavours?  Why, by making sandwich biscuits.  I decided I wanted to make something similar to my Pink Freens, with a layer of flavoured fondant icing sandwiched between two biscuits.  I knew flavouring icing with jam worked rather well so that would be the cherry bit.  The biscuits would then be cola flavoured.  And since these would be coming out close to Valentine's Day, I figured I could add a little holiday twist by punching a heart shaped hole in the top for the pink fondant to be seen through.

Having made a decision I went looking for ways to make cola cookies.  My initial thought was to find a sugar cookie recipe that I could add the cola flavouring to (either in the form of actual coca-cola, or cola syrup).  Really though, this was overcomplicating things.  I did find a few recipes that involved boiling cola down into a syrup for flavouring but a lot of them recommended using Mexican coke, which has cane sugar in it for its sweetener and I wasn't sure how to go about acquiring that.  Plus there seemed to be mixed reviews on just how cola flavoured the final result was.  Ideally, I wanted something that made use of the cola syrup I already had (though in the end I had to buy a new one anyway since it was out of date) and used a good quantity of it because last time I used it the flavour did not come through very strongly.  And that is exactly what I found over at Sweet Hope Cookies!  Even better was the fact that this dough would not require any chilling time!  I love dough I can use immediately.

It was an amazing dough!  It came together wonderfully after a little trial and error with ingredient amounts (since I was halving the recipe and some ingredient amounts did not halve very easily).  It wasn't too sticky or too dry, it rolled great and it cut great.  It barely spread during baking and the end result was a cookie bursting with cola flavour!  

The fondant bit took a little longer to get right as I wasn't sure how much jam I needed to make a really nice, cherry flavour.  So I kept having the fiancĂ© test it until he was satisfied.  Really I think it depends on the quality of your jam and how strong you want the flavour.  So the instructions in the recipe are to keep going until you are happy with the taste.  Of course, if you have access to cherry extract it will probably make you life much easier.

All in all, I thought these came out really well!  The fiancĂ© calls them indulgent because they are quite thick biscuits but are not too hard or too soft and do not skimp on the fondant.  Plus they taste like cherry cola, which is what I was aiming for.

Recipe - makes about 18

Cookies - adapted from Sweet Hope Cookies
  • 400g/14oz plain flour
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp baking powder
  • 115g/4oz butter
  • 85g/3oz granulated sugar
  • 85g/3oz light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60ml/2fl.oz cola syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line some baking trays with greaseproof paper (I ended up with about 5 lots of 8 cookies per tray but only own 2 trays of which I can cook one at a time so...tray number is up to you).
  2. Sift the plain flour, salt and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the egg and mix in until incorporated.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and the cola syrup and beat until well blended.
  6. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  Towards the end you may need to use your hands to bring it all together into a nice smooth dough.
  7. Sprinkle a clean surface with a little flour and roll out the dough to 0.5cm/0.25inches thick.  Use a 6.5cm/2.5inch circular cookie cutter to cut out an even number of circles.
  8. For half the circles, use a small, heart shaped cutter to cut shapes out of the centre.
  9. Transfer cookies to the prepared trays and bake for about 12 minutes.  
  10. Allow to cool on the trays before transferring to a wire rack.
Fondant Filling:  

  • 200g/oz ready-to-roll fondant icing
  • Smooth, seedless cherry jam
  • Lots of icing sugar
This is a bit of a trial and error bit.  It really depends on your jam and if you are happy with the flavour.
  1. Knead the icing on a clean surface dusted with icing sugar until it is nice and soft and easy to mould.
  2. Put 2-3 tbsp jam into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened.  Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Flatten the icing out slightly, place the jam in the centre and add 2 tbsp icing sugar.
  4. Fold up and knead to spread the jam throughout the icing.  Add more icing sugar if necessary to make the icing less sticky.  You want to get back to how it was before you added the jam.
  5. Taste the icing.  If you think it needs more flavour, repeat steps 2-4 until you are happy with the result.
  6. Roll out the fondant to just less than 0.5cm/0.25inches.  Cut out circles using a 6.5cm/2.5inch cutter.
  7. Turn the biscuit circles without the holes in upside down. 
  8. Place a fondant circle on top of each biscuit and then cover with a holed one.  Squeeze together gently to bind the cookies and icing so they do not fall apart.

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge



  1. Beautiful cookies! I love how you used the ingredients!

  2. This one was a challenge indeed but I love your results. So adorable!

    1. Thank you. I was so pleased with the final look. It definitely helped that I found such a good recipe for the dough.

  3. Becca your cookies sing Happy Valentine's Day to me! Yum!

    1. That's great because I was hoping they would do that!

  4. Love this idea, they're perfect for V day

    1. I'm glad! It's nice being able to add such simple things as heart embellishments to make them holiday appropriate =)

  5. These are fun! I love cookies and coke flavored cookies sound just amazing!

    1. Apparently it is a bit of an acquired taste but everyone who's eaten them so far has enjoyed them.

  6. Very cute! Look tasty too - well done!