It's cookie time! Last year in my pursuit of something different in the way of cookies, I discovered this recipe for White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread from Better Homes and Gardens. In preparation for a cookie exchange party this evening, I had several friends request these cookies again after sampling them last year. I whipped up a batch for a party at church last night and they were the first dessert to disappear! (A few of the cookies were delivered first to the friends doing the requesting since I had a suspicion they would not last!)
These tasty, festive cookies are easy to make and are a hit by cookie lovers of all ages!
Original recipe from BHG. (Visit link above or visit my pinterest page where it is pinned)
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 tsp almond extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
White nonpareils or red edible glitter (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cups) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
- Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
- In a small saucepan, combine remaining 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 waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60.
The recipe is fabulous as is, but I made it this time with a few minor adjustments.
- My grocery store was out of white chocolate so I used the white bark (the kind you use for coating pretzels). While it did not have the cocoa flavor, it was still very tasty.
- I do not add food coloring as the cookie turns out colorful from the cherries without any additional dye.
- When pressing the dough balls flat using the bottom of the glass coated in sugar, try wetting the glass first. I found that just a little moisture helped the sugar to stick to the glass better and transfer to the cookies. It also helped keep the cookie from getting stuck to the glass.
- While I like my cookies soft and on the doughy side, I found for this recipe in my oven they really needed the full 12 minutes. Any less time and they were too soft to dip in the white chocolate once cooled.
In case you've never used a pastry blender before, here is an example of one. This is a go-to supply in my kitchen - very useful and very cheap. Plus, you burn so many calories working hard to cut in the butter that you've now earned the right to eat more cookies!
Your dough should look like this after kneading it in Step 2.
This picture illustrates Step 3: flatten the rounded balls of dough with a glass bottom covered in sugar.
After Step 3, your cookies should look like this before going in the oven.
Final Step: Be the hit of the cookie party and Enjoy!
These cookies are delicious with Chai Tea Mix in a mug of hot milk.