Courtesy of www.calcherry.com
Makes 2-3 dozen
Bing Cherry Jam:
1 pound fresh California Bing cherries, washed and pitted (about 2 cups)
1/8 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350◦ F.
For jam: Combine cherries & water in a small pot and simmer over low heat until fruit is tender, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, zest, and sugar & stir gently until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil & boil rapidly for 10 minutes, stirring on occasion, until thick & syrupy. Pour into a shallow bowl & cool, or alternately refrigerate until jam is set. This can be made a day ahead.
For cookies: Beat butter & sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in egg & vanilla or almond extract. Add flour & mix until just combined. Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an impression in the center of each ball. Fill each cookie with cherry jam making sure each has a cherry in the center. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the dough is set & lightly browned on bottom. Remove from pan & cool on wire rack.
Note: For more uniform cookies, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before forming into balls.