My friend, Shannon (doctor by day, pastry chef by night), bakes these festive White Chocolate Cherry cookies every holiday season. Now that I live a million miles away from Shannon and her delightful desserts, I felt like this was the year to add them to my own baking playlist. These amazing treats are based on a traditional shortbread recipe, and can be whipped up quickly for a holiday party, or made ahead and frozen for up to three months. Enjoy!

white-chocolate-cherry-shortbread-cookies

Makes about 60 cookies


INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • Decorative nonpareils or red edible glitter for decoration (optional)


DIRECTIONS

STEP 1
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread chopped cherries on paper towels to drain well.

STEP 2
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut butter into bowl and using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix until it resembles fine crumbs. Add drained cherries and 4 ounces of the chopped white chocolate. Mix in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring, until combined. Turn mixture out onto work surface and knead until smooth and form into a ball (dough will be crumbly at first, but will come together as you work the dough with your hands).

STEP 3
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle a mound of sugar onto a plate. Using a drinking glass with a flat bottom, dip glass in sugar, and then press to flatten balls into 1-1/2-inch rounds.

STEP 4
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

STEP 5
In a small saucepan, combine 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on parchment or waxed paper until chocolate is set.

To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe by Better Homes and Garden.

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