If there’s one recipe that signifies the holidays for me, this Cherry Winks cookie recipe is it. My Grandma used to make these cookies for the holidays and I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in them.
I’ve never seen them in a store, I’ve never heard of anyone else making them. For the majority of my life, I assumed this was her personal recipe she crafted. I had no idea it actually was based on someone else’s recipe. In fact, the original recipe won the Pillsbury Bake-off contest in 1950 (hence the use of shortening and red dye-filled cherries).
When I saw the recipe on the back of a Corn Flakes box one year, I almost cried right there in the store. Silly, I know, but this recipe will always be Grandma’s. Always. Turns out hers is slightly different than the original anyway, but it was still strange to see the cookies with the shiny, red cherries on top on a box in the supermarket.
Cherry Winks are a great mix of textures and flavors. They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with bits of chewy dates and cherries. If nut allergies are a concern, you can omit the pecans. While I happen to love them, they aren’t crucial to the cookie.
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TBSP milk
2 1/4c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1c finely chopped pecans
1c diced dates
1/3c chopped maraschino cherries
1c maraschino cherries, cut into fourths
2 1/2c crushed corn flake cereal
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, and milk, and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in pecans, dates, and chopped cherries. Pop the dough into the fridge for 30 minutes to make it easier to scoop. Scoop dough with teaspoon and form into a ball. Roll dough in crushed corn flake cereal. Place on baking sheet and press one fourth of a cherry into the top of each cookie. Bake 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Do not overbake. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.