Cookie Swaps are in full swing right now! I absolutely LOVE this time of year! I signed-up for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap for next year! When I saw this recipe in the December 2013 issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I knew I had to make them! I have made shortbread only one other time and they did not turn out so good. I was a little intimidated at first, luckily their website had a video tutorial I watched and that made me 100% more confident that I could make these and that they would be great! These cute little cookies are full of flavor and so festive! I hope you try them soon!
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, finely chopped and drained
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
12 oz. white chocolate baking squares, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. shortening
Red Sanding sugar to decorate (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the chopped cherries onto a paper towel 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 the drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in the almond extract. Turn the mixture out onto a working surface and knead until it forms a smooth ball.
Roll a tablespoon of the dough into a ball and place on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Please each ball 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in granulated sugar, flatten the balls into 1 1/2 inch rounds.
Bake for 10-12 minutes rotating the cookie sheet halfway through. Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a double-boiler add remaining white chocolate and shortening. Stirring occasionally. Heat over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.
Dip 1/2 of each cookie into the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off. If desired, roll the edge of the cookie in the red sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.
To store the cookies:
Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.