white chocolate cherry shortbread

279: White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

On Monday I started getting holiday baking emails. It’s still mid-October – it’s not time to start thinking about baking for Christmas! I couldn’t help myself, though, so I looked through all 4 holiday cookie slideshows that the email contained.

That’s a lot of recipes, even for me. Out of those several, I bookmarked about 9 recipes – quite a few, but only a fraction of what the email referred to. I figured that it would be in the best interest for my recipe goal, as well for any holiday potlucks, parties, and cookie exchanges, to start trying out cookies now. If I really, really like the recipe, maybe I’ll reprise it at Christmas. If it’s good but I can’t justify making it again just yet, I can at least suggest it to other people when they need different cookie ideas!

So, I decided to make the recipe that really jumped out at me on Monday: White-Chocolate Cherry Shortbread. I think that a major reason I wanted to make these was because the cookies looked cute. I also love moist shortbreads. Sure, a lot of shortbread is crumbly and dry, but I’ve made a couple of shortbread cookies that aren’t (like Mexican Wedding Cookies, for instance).

I didn’t drain them particularly well, but I chopped the maraschino cherries with my Magic Bullet blender. I also chopped up about 4 ounces of white chocolate chips with them. I mixed the flour and sugar, cut in margarine with the pastry cutter, and added the cherries and white chocolate. Next I stirred in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and probably about 1/4 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice. I was able to knead the dough together pretty easily, and it’s possible that I had extra liquid in the dough which made that possible.

I rolled the dough into 3/4 inch balls. I placed them on baking sheets and flattened them with a glass dipped in sugar (use lots of sugar, because they stick to the glass otherwise). I baked them for 10 minutes. I didn’t want to overwhelm the shortbread with sweetness, so I only melted one square of chocolate with a tiny bit of shortening to dip a couple of cookies in.

white chocolate cherry shortbread
White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

These were pretty good. They were soft and tender, even days later. The almond extract really shone through, as did the cherry flavor in the bites that had prominent bits of cherry. The white chocolate chips added a different texture to the shortbread when you bit into them. The white chocolate coating made the cookies very sweet, and while it made the cookies very pretty, I think that the coating overwhelmed the other flavors in the cookie. Everyone loved these cookies; I took some to work, and no one walked past them without having one. Someone even requested that I make more to bring to work later in the week for a dessert potluck.

I really liked these cookies. They are a delicious, tender shortbread cookies that stays good in a sealed container for several days; I made them 5 days ago, and they’re still fantastic. They were very easy to make, as long as you don’t mind getting your hands messy; I think that the process of mixing and baking took an hour, pretty standard for a cookie recipe. It would take a little longer if you were to dip them in chocolate, which I don’t think is necessary. They’re also a festive cookie without food coloring or other adornment, perfect for Christmas or Valentine’s day. I’ll definitely make them again sometime.

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