Friday, February 10, 2012

Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies

These were promoted as a Christmas cookie, but I thought that a cherry almond cookie would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! There are common desserts you see at Valentine’s Day: super decadent chocolate treats, Red Velvet Cake, etc. My favorite treats from Valentine’s that I remember both involve cinnamon: cinnamon chocolate truffles that my favorite chocolate shop Fran’s made one year and cinnamon red hot ice cream that I got years ago at Cold Stone. Next year I will plan ahead and make a cinnamon Valentine’s treat!

I particularly like baking anything with almond extract because it makes the house smell divine. That coupled with toasting the almonds (and making some other cookies with almond extract) made my house smell so good! I can’t always do refrigerator cookies on a weeknight, but I made the dough right when I got home from work and refrigerated it 2 hours exactly and it was just fine. The dough was just a tad flexible, but that worked out.

The recipe said to shape into a 12 inch log, 1-1/2 inches in diameter. There was too much dough for that small of log, so shape it how you’d like. I think next time I will cut them a little thinner, because they baked up a bit strangely. I think a thinner cookie would do better. They might not look picture perfect (but they don’t look bad) but they sure are good!

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup chopped dried tart cherries
1/2 cup blanched almonds, toasted and chopped

2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 tablespoons water

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the flour and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Stir in the dried cherries and almonds.

Shape the dough into a log, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Cut the log into 1/2-inch thick slices and place the cookies on the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and puffed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the icing: in a medium bowl combine the powdered sugar and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the water, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cookies.

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, via the Food Network

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