White Chocolate - Cherry Shortbread Cookies
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped*
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 tsp shortening
nonpareils/edible glitter/sanding sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well. Chop finely; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture with your hands until it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 1/4-inch balls. Place balls 2-inches apart on lined cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in water and then sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool.
Place remaining chocolate and shortening in a pyrex bowl or measuring cup. Heat and stir in 30 second intervals in the microwave until melted and smooth. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils/edible glitter/sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.
* I use a 4 oz. Ghirardelli white chocolate bar within the cookie, and Wilton’s vanilla disks (available at Michaels) for the dipping.
To store: 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.
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