No-Effort, No-Bake Boozy-Nutty-Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

Sometimes when I bake, I preface the recipients’ eating by telling them they are vegan. Or gluten free. Or low in sugar. Just so they know. Okay, and maybe so they don’t critique me as harshly knowing they were made with certain dietary constrictions in mind. No such warning is required for these heavenly desserts. Though if you really want to dazzle guests, you might want to casually mention they’re no-bake after the first bite. Oh, and vegan, gluten free and high in antioxidants and omega 3-s to boot. They’re practically healthy. Especially if you eat five. Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

Inspired by this recipe from Justin Warner, I decided to add some walnuts and pecans for added crunch (and nutritional joy, of course). Follow my adaptions below or get creative and experiment with add-ins like almond slivers, dried cranberries and even cornflakes or Grape Nuts.

Ingredients:
•2 cups Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (The original recipe called for 1 1/4 cup, start with that, I found that adding more to the final “batter” while mixing created a luscious consistency and made for a great taste)
•1 cup dried sour cherries
•12 oz granola
•12 oz “milk” or chocolate morsels
•1/4 cup chopped pecans
•1/4 cup chopped walnuts
•1 1/2 tsp salt

Assembly
1. Mix granola, chocolate, nuts, salt and whatever additional mix-ins you like (everything but the wine and cherries) into a big bowl so you can pay attention to sautéing them when the time comes and not being distracted by getting everything else ready.

2. Pour dried sour cherries into a medium sauce pan with 1.5 cups of the vino. Stir together over medium heat with a spatula or whatever kind of big spoon you have for ten minutes or so. Once it looks like most of the wine has been absorbed (about 70% or so) you’re good to go to step three.

3. Turn off the heat on your stove. Dump the contents of your mixing bowl into the sauce pan and fold granola mixture into cherries and wine. The chocolate will melt from the heat of the pan. At this point, add another half cup or so of wine, if desired, into the mixture and continue stirring the whole pot into one giant gooey ball of goodness.

From this…

To this…

4. Line a baking pan or sheet with parchment paper. Stick your hands inside two sandwich bags (if you have plastic hair dye type gloves, all the power to you, I didn’t), and mold cookie shaped balls from your batter and transfer to lined pan. Flatten down the balls to desired size and shape. (In my not so scientific rendition, this yielded about 14 cookies varying from medium to extra large and jagged)

5. Let freeze for at least half an hour. Garnish with mint and raspberries, if you want to get all shmancy.
6. Dig in!

P.S. Even though these cookies are “boozy” they might not do the 12% ABV trick, so pair with a wine of choice to keep riding the buzz. My lovely publicist pal Erin sent me this Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon (and you’ll have leftover from the cookies anyways! At around $10 this wine is a serious steal) went lovely and Prosecco pairs nicely as well.


Because everything looks better on vintage trays…

Doesn’t it?

Or with flowers…

By a windowsill…

Yes, I devoured this whole plate. No, I don’t feel bad about it.

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