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.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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

 

 

67 Comments

Comments

  1. Senika @ Foodie Blog Stalker on February 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I always thought I hated almond extract until I learned to use it super sparingly. These cookies are the cutest!

  2. Erin on February 6, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Like several others, I made the cherry almond shortbread cookies back in December, and they were scrumptious! This is a brilliant variation for V-day!! I want to share a story that may be helpful… it underscores the importance of room temperature ingredients. This morning I had an order of chocolate drop cookies to make for a lady. I had set the butter out last night, but our old farmhouse is not well insulated and the kitchen can be pretty chilly early in the mornings. So I gave the butter a few seconds in the microwave, got the eggs out to “warm up” too, and went to work. The sugar and flour, however, from my canisters against an outside wall on the kitchen counter, might as well have come out of the fridge… plus, it took sour cream which I didn’t bother to warm… So, as I added stuff the dough got colder until I realized things were not incorporated very well at all. I baked them anyway, and they’re edible, but I had to make another batch for the order and made sure EVERYTHING was at a decent room temp first… and they turned out great! Sorry for the long story, but this might save somebody else a bit of kitchen pain… especially if they are baking in an old house in the wintertime.

    • Sally on February 6, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      Erin, yes. I am so glad you posted this comment because proper temperature ingredients is everything in baking. Absolutely everything. We preheat the oven, so we should also prep the ingredients to the proper temperature as well. Other bakers may say it’s a waste of time but it absolutely is not. So glad the second batch of your cookie recipe was successful.

      • Erin on February 7, 2015 at 7:21 am

        Definitely not a waste of time, when if you try to skip it, you spend twice the time remaking your stuff. Lesson learned, and hopefully, retained! 🙂



  3. Joy on February 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Hi I’m wondering if is it okay to mail this cookies? Like from VA to CA?

  4. Callie on February 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I was wondering if you could post that link of your preferred baking products, I think it was an amazon list. I was wanting to reference it for some cookie sheets, etc and I can’t seem to find the link!

    Thanks! 🙂

  5. Rebecca on February 10, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I just made these and they are awesome. I used a trick to make it so I didn’t have to worry about fridge space for chilling. Freeze the kisses before you bake the cookies. When you take them out of the oven wait one minute and then press the frozen kisses in. No need to fit the cookies in the fridge/freezer, just the bag of kisses!

  6. Marianna on February 13, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I know it’s an essential part of the recipe, but is there a way to make these nut-free by not using the almond extract? Or is there a suitable substitute for that ingredient?

    • Sally on February 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Simply leave the almond extract out and use a little more vanilla extract instead.

  7. betty on February 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Happy Valentines Day Sally!
    Just to let you know I’ve linked this recipe into my latest post of my 13 favourite Valentines recipes and bloggers 🙂 because they look simply SCRUMMY!
    Betty x

  8. Shinee on February 21, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Absolutely the prettiest cookies I’ve seen in a while!

  9. Samantha on February 23, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    It’s funny how tastes are so different between people – I HATE almond extract with a passion, even though I love almonds. It tastes gross to me, and I always just up the vanilla extract in its place. I literally can’t eat a baked good with even a smidgen of almond extract in it. (I had to tell my wedding cake designer to leave it out – she said I was the only person to ever make the request!) These cookies (like everything else you make!) look divine though! Plus “cherry blossom” is the cutest cookie name ever!!!!! 😀

    • Sally on February 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      It IS funny Samantha, yes! Too funny about your wedding cake. Hope it was tasty without it! (I’m sure it was of course)

  10. Beth on February 24, 2015 at 6:54 am

    I just tried making these cookies! I couldn’t find maraschino cherries in the supermarket though. So I used glace cherries and cherry juice. The pink colour didn’t emerge! Which is really sad. But they taste wonderful. So I will definitely seek out some actual maraschino cherries, instead of substitutes, and make these properly. I put chocolate chips in too! Instead of the Hershey’s on top (I just ate those :P).

    • Sally on February 24, 2015 at 1:25 pm

      Yours sound delicious Beth– with or without the pink color!

  11. Anna on February 25, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Sally sorry to keep bugging you

  12. Donna Howard on March 4, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Making these today for my husband to take to a meeting! My only problem — after sitting in the fridge all night the dough is very very hard – too hard to make a pretty ball!! How do YOU do it!! Thanks Sally for all your good recipes

    • Sally on March 4, 2015 at 10:04 am

      Leave it out for around 45 minutes to slightly often and easy to handle. Thanks Donna!

      • Donna Howard on March 4, 2015 at 10:05 am

        Perfect – thanks!!



  13. Kat on December 7, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I made three batches for a Christmas, and I added red gel food coloring to make them a deeper red. After rolling the dough into balls, I found that putting them back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before baking to re-chill them helped them spread less and they turned out great. I also rolled some of the balls in sanding sugar to make them sparkle. I made 30 cookies per batch, which were perfectly sized. They are delicious!!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe. One question: What’s the best way to freeze them so the chocolate doesn’t turn white and the tips of the kisses don’t get damaged?

    • Sally on December 8, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      Hi Kat! I’m so glad that you made and loved these cookies. Unfortunately, there’s no way around freezing them without the Kiss (maybe!) turning white or not stay wonderfully brown. Sometimes my kisses stay nice and brown when thawed out. (Thaw overnight in the fridge.)

  14. Julia on December 23, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Dear Sally,

    Instead of the cherry juice, can I use steeped Cherry Blossom Tea? And can I use fresh cherries instead of maraschino cherries, as I have a lot on hand? Can’t wait to try this recipe – have tried your snickerdoodles (for a party) and everyone loved them!! 

    Thanks for all the great recipes!

    • Sally on December 23, 2015 at 9:43 am

      If you enjoy the taste of the tea, I don’t see why not. And fresh work, too. Thanks Julia! Enjoy.

  15. KL Yee on November 27, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Hi, I work on your recipe this morning on a small testing scale before I embark the actual baking for Christmas. It turn out great! I have a couple of questions:

    1) For the dough, do you think its advisable to roll them into 1 inch balls first before sending them to chill in the fridge?

    2) As the environment where I am is warm and humid, the chocolate will still melt after I took them out of the freezer after 15mins in it. Is there a way to stop the chocolate from melting? I intend to put them in a cookie bag as Christmas gifts to my colleagues but I doubt the chocolate remain intact for a long time before it smear the cookie bags.

    Thanks. 

    • Sally on November 27, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      Wonderful! So for 1) you can absolutely do that if it’s easier for you. Sometimes I chill for a little, then roll into balls, then chill some more. You can do it either way as long as the dough has been chilled and 2) I’m unsure how to avoid this in your arm climate unless you temper it! Have you tried tempering the chocolate?

  16. Distinctive Confectionery on January 13, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Wow they look so nice! They are so pretty and I imagine they are so very tasty!

  17. Susan on May 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    I would like to make for high altitude. What should b change for that?

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