Ah, Valentine’s Day…it’s almost here.
Looking for something sweet to give your sweetheart? These cookies are a perfect, simple way to show someone you care…and, bonus, they are incredibly delicious!!
I have to admit that I was intrigued by these cookies, but wasn’t sure how into them I would be. I don’t like maraschino cherries. My kids always love when I get some sort of dessert with a cherry on top, because they know I’ll gladly hand it over. For some reason, though, this recipe kept calling to me, and I’ve wanted to try it for a while. Now, I’m quite glad I did.
First things first, I chopped up some of those (alarmingly bright) cherries, and set them out on some paper towels to drain a bit. (WARNING: You may want to wear gloves when you do this. I ended up with bright red fingers.)
Next, I cut some butter into a mixture of flour and sugar.
Unlike most cookie recipes that you may be familiar with, there are no eggs and no other liquid in shortbread. The dough is pretty dense, and it always surprises me when it bakes up so nice, buttery and light. Anyway, I digress, after the butter is evenly mixed in and the mixture was at a fine crumb point, I stirred in my chopped cherries along with some white chocolate that I’d chopped up into teeny tiny pieces. No big chunks needed. I also added a little bit of almond extract.
Then comes the most difficult part of this whole thing, and it’s not really difficult, just takes some patience. I dumped the mixture out on a large sheet of parchment paper, and kneaded it, and pressed it together until that crumbly mixture came together to form a very dense dough.
Using the parchment paper, I was able to bring up the sides and press in until it, finally, came together in the big, cherry studded lump you see here.
Once that was done, it was time to get the cookies going. I pinched off a bit of the dough, rolled the bits into 1 inch balls, and then placed them on my cookie sheets. Once they were laid out, I took a glass, sprayed the bottom with nonstick spray, dipped it in some sugar, and pressed the cookies into rounds.
The cookies really don’t spread out much at all, so they only need to be a couple of inches away from each other on the sheet.
Once they were all pressed out, I popped them into the oven for about 12 minutes. While the first batch was baking, I wrapped up the remaining dough in the parchment and put it in the fridge.
The cookies need to bake just until they are set in the middle. They won’t brown up much, but they’ll just look done. I removed them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once all of the cookies were out of the oven, and cooled completely, I melted a little more white chocolate in the microwave, along with a dab of shortening. I put the melted chocolate mixture into a small zip-top bag, snipped off the end, and drizzled the cookies with the melted chocolate.
The chocolate only needed a few minutes to set up, and then they were ready for my family of sweethearts to dive into.
We all loved these cookies! They are buttery, and tender, with just the right crumb and the cherry, white chocolate and almond work together perfectly…even for this skeptical cherry eater. They were a huge hit with all of my Valentines. Hope they will be with yours as well.
VALENTINE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHERRY SHORTBREAD
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
- 1/2 cup of maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup (two sticks) cold butter
- 8 oz. white baking chocolate with cocoa butter (I used Nestle), finely chopped, divided
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. shortening
- Preheat the oven to 325*F.
- Spread the chopped cherries out on some paper towels to drain thoroughly.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour and sugar. Cut the butter up into pieces, and add to the flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Stir in the cherries, half of the white chocolate, and almond extract.
- Pour the mixture out onto a large sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Kneed the dough, using the sides of the paper to help, until it comes together in one large, smooth, ball.
- Shape the dough into 3/4-1 inch balls and place, 2 inches apart, on parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten the dough a bit, into 1 1/2 inch circles, with the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar. (Spray the bottom of the glass with nonstick spray to help grab the sugar.)
- Bake, at 325*F, for 10-12 minutes, or until the centers of the cookies are set and the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on the cookie sheets for 1 minute, before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cookies are completely cool, melt the remaining chocolate with the shortening in a small bowl in the microwave. Start at 1 minute, stir, and heat in 30 second intervals, until melted and smooth.
- Place the melted chocolate in a small zip-top bag, snip off the end, and drizzle the cookies with the chocolate.
- Allow chocolate to set before serving.