Chocolate and Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate and Cherry Shortbread Cookies

I’d begun to think we’d made every Christmas cookie worth making on the site. (I don’t count cookies with elaborate piped icing because that is next-level fussy and not how I roll. But if you do, I want to see those pictures!) But then I came across these little shortbread beauties. I found them on Better Homes & Gardens, where they were made with white chocolate, which looks really pretty but is not to my taste. But dark chocolate and cherry? Very much to my taste.

The other big selling point to these cookies is that they do not require any chilling time. So if you want to make them with your kids you don’t have to do that thing where you have to make the dough on the down low and get it into the fridge so they can just help with the fun part. These take no time to make and then you can get right into the chocolate dipping and sprinkling of candy. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, they taste even better on the second or third day and pack and travel well, making them excellent candidates for teachers’ gifts. I know they made excellent ice breakers at a recent parent teacher meeting. Not that I’d ever use a cookie as a bribe.

chocolate-cherry-shortbread

photo by Maya Visnyei

Chocolate and Cherry Shortbread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 50 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, very well chilled
  • 10 1/2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp coconut or vegetable oil
  • decorations of your choice, like crushed candy cane or sprinkles

Method

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Spread your drained, chopped cherries out on paper towel to drain them even more.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and flour. Use a box grater or a food processor to grate your very cold butter into small pieces. Toss the butter pieces into the flour mixture, tossing it with your hands until you have a fine crumb texture.

Add the cherries, 1/2 of the chocolate and almond extract. Use your hands to knead the dough. It will take a minute to come together but keep at it.

Pinch off a small bit of dough and roll between your palms to create 3/4 to 1-inch balls. Place them on an un-greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

Take a drinking glass, dip the bottom in sugar and then use it to flatten each ball into 1 to 1 1/2 inch rounds.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they are firm in the centre. Allow them to cool for a minute before removing them to completely cool on a rack.

Pour a couple of inches of water in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Place a bowl over the saucepan and then put the remaining chocolate in the bowl. Stir it often as it melts.

Place some parchment on your counter top or on baking sheets. Dip each cooking halfway into the melted chocolate and then sprinkle any candy you like on top or around the edges. Place the cookies to firm up on the parchment.

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