Thursday, December 8, 2011
White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread- 12 Days of Cookies Day 3
Day 3 of 12 Days of Cookies: White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread. Don’t these look so festive? I know that Christmas cookies don’t have to be green or red, but it sure is fun to make such brightly colored cookies! I love cherries so I was really looking forward to making these. They take a little bit of extra effort, with the white chocolate dip and the sprinkles, but I love spending time to make things extra special this time of year.
I always use the mixer to cut in the butter, which I suppose is cheating but I just find that I get better results that way. Sometimes I use the food processor. My hands get so tired when I do it by hand and the butter gets too soft. So far I have lucked out doing it this way. My dad uses a pastry blender to mix dough whenever he makes some, but I guess his hands are bigger and stronger than mine.
I’m really pleased with how these came out. My cookies aren’t perfectly round, but that’s ok. I baked them for the longer end of the time and they still seemed fairly soft. They did set up more as they cooled so resist the urge to over bake these. I used white chocolate candy melts and they worked great. I have a bad track record with white chocolate seizing on me when I try to melt it, but this was foolproof. I made some with Christmas sprinkles and some with red decorating sugar. The ones with red decorating sugar almost looked like Santa hats, so it you are really creative you could give that a try.
½ cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
2-1/2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate melts, finely chopped and divided
½ teaspoon almond extract
Red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
Sprinkles or coarse sugar, for decoration
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Drain the cherries on paper towels and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Add the cold butter and cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cherries and 4 ounces of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in the almond extract and, if using, the red food coloring. Knead until the dough comes together.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Dip a drinking glass in sugar and flatten the balls to 1-1/2” rounds.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are set. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a microwave or to top of a double boiler, melt the shortening and the remaining white chocolate. Dip each cookie half way in the white chocolate. If desired, roll the edges of the cookies in sprinkles or coarse sugar. Place the dipped cookies on waxed paper and allow to harden.
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens