White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

December 1st around our house means it’s time to bust out the Christmas decorations and our Elf on The Shelf, Jack. If you don’t have an Elf, I highly recommend it. He generates loads of good behavior from your kids and has the power to make them do almost anything since he reports their behavior back to Santa. My husband even jimmy rigged some fishing line across our ceiling so Jack spontaneously flies across our ceiling every once in a while which gets the kids in a frenzy.
December 1st also means I start thinking what cookie to make for cookie exchanges or for neighbor treat plates. I always stress over making the perfect cookie. The recipe has to be festive, taste awesome, easy, unique, and make a lot of cookies. I spotted these cookies on Pinterest and they seemed to fit the bill. Cherry and almond mixed together – which is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I added more cherry liquid and almond extract to bump up the flavor because that’s how we do it around here.
It’s a shortbread cookie which means the dough is super dry. Don’t be worried. This is normal. It should look like this:
It will all come together when you knead it into a ball. Look at those beautiful chunks of white chocolate and cherries.
Then you make really small balls and flatten them with the bottom of a glass.
Dip them in melted white chocolate and sprinkles and you’re done!

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve 2 Tablespoons of liquid from cherries)
  • 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
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • White nonpareils, sprinkles, and/or red edible glitter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well reserving 2 Tablespoons of cherry liquid for later.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or 2 forks), cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. You could also use a food processor here or use your Kitchen Aid Mixer. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in the 2 Tablespoons reserved cherry liquid, almond extract, and food coloring. Mixture will be very dry and look like crumbs. Don't worry. That's normal. Using your hands, knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
  3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. The cookies do not spread much so make sure your balls are well formed. Having slightly damp hands helps here. 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.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Do not overbake! Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
  5. In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. You could also do this in the microwave, melting in 30 second intervals stirring in between. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in sprinkles and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 48 cookies.
  6. Storage: 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.

Notes

Source: adapted from BHG

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Comments

  1. I just made shortbreads last night. This is a great variation! Thanks for sharing!

  2. white chocolate, maraschino cherries…cookies…my favorites all in one. BEAUTIFUL!

  3. I’m putting together my list of what I’m baking for care packages tonight! I have *such* a long list and am trying to narrow it down. But these sound great, I may need to add them to the list!

  4. Oh my, I may have to make these. I just signed up for a cookie exchange too!

    I will pin this so I can have it when I need it!

  5. I saw these(or they looked like these) on pinterest the other day and decided I had to make them. I hope they are as yummy as they look. They are sooooo pretty and will look great on a platter!!

    Thanks for sharing,
    Tracy Valure

  6. These look amazing…all some of my favorite flavors…I just love cherry and almond together. So festive looking, too.

  7. aww so cute & I’m always a fan of anything pink. Love your blog :)

  8. I look fantastic and incredible biscuits. regards

  9. I have seen these on Pinterest and have heard great things about them. Looks like I need to give them a try!!

  10. I’ve died and gone to heaven. I can not wait to make these cookies. My husband is going to LOVE LOVE LOVE ME!

    Thanks for this recipe. You never disappoint!

  11. How weird, I JUST got these in the mail last night for the food blogger cookie swap. But they were from a Stacey and not you lol. Unfortunately I have no idea who this Stacey is! I feel terrible because they really are quite delicious! But No idea who to thank :-(

  12. What great cookies, they are so pretty and sound wonderful! I just learned about The Elf on The Shelf close to Christmas last year. My son is almost 7, so we didn’t get one. I wish I could have known about it a little sooner! Such an amazing idea!

  13. I am going to try these. A good friend adores cherry anything, so a nice treat for her. Thanks for sharing.

  14. These cookies are so beautiful! Your elf is really cute.

  15. These are officially being made as one of my Christmas cookies!

  16. Yummm….I plan on making these cookies for a cookie exchange. Quick question about the storage, it says only good for 3 days at room temp. That seems really short for cookies. Any reason it is so short? There does not seem to be any ingredients that will go bad if left out for a longer period of time…week or 2.
    Thanks!

  17. Seeing the little chunks of white chocolate and cherries in the dough is just heavenly.

  18. These look incredible! I have a question though, if I wanted to omit the white chocolate, would any of the measurements change for anything else?

  19. These look wonderful! Now to remember that I wanted to make these for our Cookie tray…

  20. @emmarip,
    That’s just what the original recipe stated. I too, don’t see any ingredients that would go bad so I think you are safe!

  21. this looks just like a recipe my mom made for me as a little girl – we called them Valentine’s Day cookies. She only made them at christmas!

  22. Made these cookies last week, too. Had many, many compliments. Family LOVED them. I did see the recipe on BHG, but loved your addition of cherry juice.

  23. These look adorable and yummy

  24. Would these freeze well? I am very excited to try the recipe, but I do not need to eat them all at once! Lol! And I will if I don’t freeze some ;)

  25. I just made a batch of these cookies and overall they turned out well. However, I my dough did not turn out dry at all and the taste is more like a sugar cookie. Any idea what I could have done wrong? Btw, I am a novice baker so that could be the problem in itself :)

    • Shortbread tastes a little like sugar cookies but these should have cherry/white chocolate flavor in there. The dough shouldn’t be too wet.

  26. Just made these! They’re delicious!

  27. these are so good. I made them for christmas last year. going to make again this year for a cookie exchange. Question, could I make dough a day before, refrigerate overnight and then roll into dough balls and bake the next day??

  28. I just moved to CO and I’m still unsure how to bake in this high altitude! I’ve made these before while living in Texas and they are now my husband’s favorite! Any suggestions on what to change for high altitude…. if any?? Thank you!