White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

printed from melskitchencafe.com

*Makes about 3 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (juice reserved)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter

4 ounces white baking chocolate, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

White candy coating or additional white baking chocolate for dipping

Sprinkles for decorating, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the chopped cherries on paper towels to drain well. Don't forget to reserve the juice!

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the drained cherries and chopped white chocolate. Stir in the almond extract and enough reserved juice to form a smooth ball. Gradually add a tablespoon of the juice at a time and mix with your hands until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into 1- or 2-inch balls. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten the balls to about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the centers are set. Cool for a minute or two on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dip the cookies in melted white chocolate (or white candy coating) and before they set roll the edges in sprinkles. Let the chocolate set before stacking or serving. The cookies can be made, dipped (if desired) then covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.