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  • Kaitlyn Goalen

Secrets, A family recipe revealed

This month, Tasting Table is sweet on holiday cookies. This is the first in our 12-part series, the 12 Days of Cookies:

We've all kept secrets from our parents.

For most of us, the secrets involve sneaking a cigarette or staying out past curfew. But for Kendall Melton, pastry chef of Contigo in Austin, the skeleton in the closet is sweeter.

Melton's mother, Patricia, has been asking her daughter for the recipe for Melton's signature dark-chocolate-cherry cookies for years. At each turn, Kendall has either coyly dodged the question or supplied a version of the recipe but with slight modifications--a missing ingredient here, an incorrect measurement there.

"It's so mean," she confesses. "My mother was the one who taught me how to bake. But for some reason, I'm really possessive about this recipe."

Now that the cookies are on the Contigo menu, Melton has come clean. She's given us the recipe--in its entirety, she promises--and we can see why her mom has been so persistent. Rich with dark chocolate and brown sugar, the cookies have a melting softness that's punctuated by tart dried cherries (click here to see the recipe).

Looks like Mom finally got what she wished for.

Chocolate-Cherry Cookies


8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup chopped dried cherries


1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix the butter and sugars together. Add the vanilla, nutmeg and eggs and combine until smooth.

2. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter-and-egg mixture in three parts, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition, until the batter is smooth.

3. Mix in the chocolate chips and cherries. Transfer the batter to a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350° about 1 hour before you're ready to bake the cookies. Scoop 1-inch spoonfuls of the dough onto an ungreased sheet pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the edges are brown and the middles are golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool until warm or room temperature. Serve the cookies immediately or keep for a few days before serving.

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