Chocolate Cherry Blossom Cookies.

Cherry almond shortbread cookies topped with a Hershey’s Kiss. These buttery shortbread cookies have so much flavor and taste remarkable with an extra drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate.

Chocolate Cherry Blossoms by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- my favorite shortbread cookie flavored with cherry and almond and adorned with chocolate kisses!

One of the most underrated ingredients in the baking world is almond extract. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor reminiscent of amaretto (yum) and pairs well with apricots, peaches, and vanilla. A touch of almond extract can turn a regular cherry pie into an unforgettable dessert and a shortbread cookie into an “omg I need this recipe” …recipe.

That being said, this magical little extract is incredibly potent. Though it can do wonders to a bowl of sprinkle laden puppy chow, almond extract can most definitely be overused. The beauty is in the balance. Finding just the right amount to transform your cookies from good to great. And it’s exactly what makes today’s positively pink recipe outstanding. The subtle kiss of almond extract. The chocolate drizzle helps too.

Don’t they just scream Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Cherry Blossoms by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- my favorite shortbread cookie flavored with cherry and almond and adorned with chocolate kisses!

You may recognize these cookies– they’re the same cookie base recipe as my recent cherry almond shortbread cookies–> I made those 3-4 times over the holidays because the only thing better than their taste is their color. There’s just something about pink cookies. So, I made them again adding a Valentine’s Day twist. A chocolate kiss. Muah.

These are shortbread cookies. I’ve never been a huge fan of shortbread– a little too boring, much too dry, way too buttery, and borderline “blah.” That was until I had shortbread the right way. Baked correctly, shortbread can be crisp yet soft. Crumbly, yet moist. Dense, yet light. Basically when shortbread is done right, it is anything but plain.

Shortbread cookies are unique from other cookies in that they do not contain eggs or a leavening agent. Some recipes may call for baking powder, but I choose to leave it out. Same reason why I do not leaven brownies– you want to avoid an airy texture. We want dense. Butter makes the cookies incredibly rich and flavorful; there is definitely no subbing margarine here. Sugar sweetens, flour gives structure. These 3 ingredients create a remarkable base that can be flavored any which way. And almond cherry is one of the best.

Though the almond flavor is balanced and lovely, the cherry flavor shines bright. Both maraschino cherries and cherry juice go into the cookie dough. Tons of little cherry pieces speckled throughout every cookie. See:

Chocolate Cherry Blossom Cookie Dough

As I mentioned in my other shortbread cookie post, be careful baking these pink cookies (1) from a texture standpoint, overbaking shortbread cookies strips their tender, soft texture. And you’re left with hard cookies. Not crumbly. Just hard. And (2) from an appearance standpoint. Overbaking will leave brown dark spots on top of the cookies. A brown-ish underside (and edge) to these cookies is normal because, well, they are cookies.

Once the cherry almond cookies are baked, it’s time to adorn them with chocolate… my favorite part about Valentine’s Day. Press a Hershey’s Kiss or a chocolate heart (festive cuteness overload) into the tops of the baked cookies, finish with an optional-but-encouraged chocolate drizzle, and swoon. You just fell in love.

Chocolate Cherry Blossoms by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- my favorite shortbread cookie flavored with cherry and almond and adorned with chocolate kisses!

Heart them. In all their almond cherry chocolate 1 bowl glory.

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Chocolate Cherry Blossom Cookies

Cherry almond shortbread cookies topped with a Hershey's Kiss. These buttery shortbread cookies have so much flavor and taste remarkable with an extra drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate. This cookie dough must be chilled, so plan accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (134g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 16 maraschino cherries (drained and chopped)
  • 24 Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Directions:

  1. First, make sure you have enough room in the freezer/refrigerator because you'll need to quickly chill the baked cookies with the Hershey's Kiss on top in step 4.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Switch mixer to medium speed and add the the sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on high, slowly drizzle in 1 Tablespoon of the cherry juice. Beat for 1 minute on high. Turn the mixer off and pour the flour into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed, then, with the mixer still running on low, add the chopped cherries. Beat just until the cherries are disbursed in the dough. Press the dough down to compact it and tightly cover with plastic wrap to chill until firm, at least 4 hours (and up to 3 days). If the cookie dough is not sufficiently chilled, your cookies will spread all over the cookie sheet.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (silicone mats preferred to reduce spreading). Shape the cookie dough into balls. Mine were about 1 Tablespoon of dough per ball. Make sure they're nice and smooth. If you find that the balls of dough are sticky and/or have gotten a little soft after rolling- place the balls of dough back into the refrigerator to firm up. You absolutely DO NOT want soft dough.
  4. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until very lightly browned on the edges. The cookies will puff up and spread slightly. Do not overbake. In fact, I only baked mine for 10 minutes. I prefer them a little soft. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then gently press a Hershey's Kiss into each cookie and quickly stick the baking sheet in the freezer or fridge so the warm cookie does not completely melt the chocolate. Let the Hershey's Kiss set on the cookies in the freezer/refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the freezer/refrigerator, then drizzle with chocolate: melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave, in 20 second increments, stirring after each increment until melted. I used a plastic condiment bottle to drizzle the melted chocolate chocolate; a fork or spoon work too.
  6. Make ahead tip: Store cookies covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 6 days. Shortbread cookie dough may be frozen up to 2 months; baked cookies may be frozen up to 2-3 months.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

Try my Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

 

and these Peanut Butter Sweethearts!

Peanut Butter Sweethearts

 

 

66 comments

  1. They’re gorgeous and perfect for this time of year between V-Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, the springtime…I bet the flavor is so wonderful! Buttery, with the cherry and chocolate flavors, mmmm! Pinned and love the collage!

    • Adorable Sally! Need to make a few batches of these for my sister who lives on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. when the Cherry Blossoms come in Spring (that’s when we visit!!)

      All the way you infused cherry flavor (real cherry flavor0 throughout these cookies. Shortbread cookies are the best! This is what Pinterest is made for!! haha.

  2. These cookies are just SO pretty! The chocolate kiss and (totally necessary) chocolate drizzle really make this cookie a winner…definitely a perfectly festive pink Valentine’s Day cookie!

  3. I’m loving the cherry and chocolate combination- Added by that Hershey’s kiss in the centre! Almond extract is something I’ve seen here in Australia but except for Shortbread and macaroons, I’ve never used it! Cheers!

  4. I’m with you on the almond extract! I love to sub it in for vanilla (or go half and half) in so many recipes and it always adds more dimension to the flavor.
    Pink cookies pretty much rock no matter what, but adding chocolate drizzle just ups the happy level!

  5. Beautiful, Sally! I don’t really enjoy maraschino cherries, but I’d love to try this is tart cherry juice and cherry-pie filling or something… 🙂 The chocolate kiss and chocolate drizzle add so much…you could even go overboard with the cherry-cordial kisses 😉

  6. Shortbread is my favorite. I love the almond and maraschino cherry combination! These cookies are adorable and will make the perfect Valentine’s Day treat. Have you seen the Cherry Cordial Kisses? Do you think that they can be used instead?

  7. “Blossom cookies” is such a cute name! Would fresh cherries work instead of the maraschino cherries?

  8. I know I said this on your post in December, but cherry almond is one of my top top top favorite flavor combos ever. We had almond cake with cherry mousse filling as the top tier of our wedding cake! YUM! It’s also another reason Black Forest cake is the ultimate. Great choice, Sally!

  9. HOW ADORABLE ARE THESE COOKIES? I do wonder, would these cookies turn out the same if I used raspberries instead of cherries? I always make a cookie or dessert for family and friends on Valentines Day (because nothing says “I love you” more than a sweet dessert) but I think raspberries might be a better fit for my crowd. Do you think they would change the flavor/texture of the recipe too much?

    • I fear raspberries would add too much extra liquid and the cookies could spread too much. However, I can’t be 100% sure and it’s worth a try. I suggest splitting the dough in half and just adding some raspberries to half of the dough and baking those– just to see if they turn out. Let me know if you try!

    • Here in the UK, you can buy freeze-dried raspberries for baking – maybe something like that would give you the flavour without the extra liquid?

  10. Love these. Slightly nostalgic, highly romantic. Kissable!

  11. These are so adorable and perfect for Valentine’s Day! I love using almond extract as well 😉 super cute!

  12. These cookies are so cute, they seem perfect for the baby-shower or Valentine’s! Cherry also gives a taste of spring I would say, yum!

    /F

  13. I’m so glad I’ve finally heard someone else say how much they love almond extract. I’ve been using it in my shortbread cookie recipe that I got from my grandma for years now. It is simply the best and the one thing that can definitely put many a recipe over the top and having people coming back for more. I am going to give this recipe a try this weekend.

  14. Sally, I absolutely LOVE maraschino cherries! This shortbread cookies sound wonderful. I love the drizzle of chocolate and the bits of cherries peaking through…yum! xo

  15. These look delightful. This is going to be made soon!

  16. I made the Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies for our annual holiday cookie exchange. I found it necessary to have the drizzle, since I am not a huge fan of shortbread either. The cookies were well-received!
    I may like these better as a blossom with the kiss and chocolate drizzle. And so pretty for Valentine’s Day!

  17. I’m so happy to see a variation on your amazing cherry almond shortbread cookies. I made them for Christmas and they were a hit! The almond extract in these is magical. Can’t wait to make them with chocolate!

  18. they look absolutely adorable! i can’t help but picturing one big cookie and stuffed with little hershey kisses in the middle. yum.

  19. Aw these are too cute! They look so delicious, especially with the kiss!

  20. These cookies are so pretty. My daughter’s favorite color is pink, I bet she would love these cookies.

  21. Well, we have some leftover Hershey kisses from Christmas. I was thinking of making peanut butter blossoms, but PINK triumphs over all. Haha. Plus, my family LOVES maraschino cherries so it should be a hit! I’ll agree… shortbread really is kind of boring but I really like the fact these are tickled pink all over.

  22. Mmmm…the real cherries, the chocolate drizzle…just perfectly delicious and beautiful! 🙂 Love these!!

  23. These are so cute! And pink is perfect!

  24. Sally,
    These look wonderful! Your pictures look spot on and beautiful as usual and it is so fun reading what you write about the recipe! Thank you for making your blog special.
    Dana

  25. Cherry and Chocolate! I neeeeed these! Thanks Sally for another awesome recipe! Have a great weekend!

    /F

  26. These are so cute! I too love almond extract. I feel like I have to resist sometimes because I want to add it to everything I bake!

  27. Those cookies look SO DELICIOUS! I really want to try one!! 😀 They look perfectly adorable and so yummy! The chocolate kiss on top really makes them look so Valentine’s-Day-ish. 😉

  28. These cookies are so cute for Valentine’s day! I think I will be trying them out! One question, do you clean your silicone mats, and if so what do you use? I just got some for Christmas and I love not having to scrub cookie sheets! 🙂

    • Hey Kim! I simply wipe off with a wet paper towel or lightly scrub with soapy water and rinse off. Much less labor intensive than scrubbing stubborn pans!

  29. These look brilliant! I love the colour, and the chocolate drizzle is just the “cherry on top”. This spring I have all kinds of bridal & baby showers to attend and help throw, I am thinking these could easily be adapted for some of those parties and would be a total crowd-pleaser. Any excuse for me to eat shortbread year-round!

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