Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Soft and buttery shortbread cookies flavored with cherry and almond, then finished off with sweet white chocolate.

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Recipe #4 of my Christmas Cookie Palooza is so pink, it makes Barbie’s corvette look pale. The cookies get their girly color from maraschino cherry juice and their flavor from butter, almond extract, and cherries. Cherry and almond is a divine combination and these have to be one of my best cookies yet!

Seriously, how can you not smile biting into a cookie like this??

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Do you like shortbread cookies? They were never a favorite when I was younger. I’d often turn my nose up to them in favor of something a little more… exciting. Like a chocolate peanut butter sprinkle carmel drizzled candy bar loaded something. But now, I can’t get enough of these tender little cookies. I can now appreciate their simple taste, crumbly texture, and out of control butter flavor.

There are three main ingredients in shortbread cookies. Butter, sugar, and flour. Diet cookies? These are not. All three are imperative to the structure, texture, and taste of shortbread cookies. I’ve had a lot of problems in the past with shortbread cookies spreading. There’s so much butter that spreading is often an issue unless you have the right recipe. There are also no eggs present to give the cookies structure.

I played around with my Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies (also shortbread) to include cherry juice. I made many, many failed attempts. Adding a thin liquid like this (and liquidy maraschino cherries) to a cookie dough so high in butter can spell disaster. More flour, less flour, more cherry juice, less cherry juice, etc. I ended up reducing the butter slightly and that seemed to solve all the problems. The shortbread cookies still have all that extraordinary buttery flavor, but now include the taste of cherries.

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

My favorite part about these cherry almond shortbread cookies? Besides the color of course. All the cherry chunks. Chunks of sweet maraschino cherries in every single bite.

Be careful baking these 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 orange brown dark spots on top of the cookies. A brown-ish underside (and edge) to these cookies is normal because, well, they are cookies.

The white chocolate drizzle! I mean, the white chocolate pizazz! While the cookies have so much cherry, butter, and almond flavor, I felt the cookies lacked something on the outside. A simple white chocolate drizzle makes them a little snazzy, right?

They are so soft inside. ↓ ↓

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies on sallysbakingaddiction.com

A cookie almost too pretty to eat.

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Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Soft and buttery shortbread cookies flavored with cherry and almond, then finished off with sweet white 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 pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) maraschino cherry juice
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 16 maraschino cherries (drained and chopped)
  • optional: 4 ounces white chocolate

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). 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.
  3. 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 before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before drizzling with white chocolate. Melt the white 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 white chocolate.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: cherry almond shortbread cookies, cherry almond shortbread

See more Christmas and Cookie Palooza recipes.

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

 

135 Comments

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  1. Ooh I already love your original shortbread cookies (made them last week for my grandma 🙂 and these look even better! I love cherries and adding them as a liquid-esque ingredients instead of as a decoration is interesting… I’ll have to try these! Fruity, or nutty, cookies are my favourite (yes even over Chocolate Chip!)

  2. These remind me of something my grandma used to make! Omg loooove these! I made a maraschino cherry and almond extract bread about 6 months ago that was my grandma’s recipe and these cookies need to be next on my list! Pinned! 🙂

  3. These are gorgeous, Sally! The white chocolate cannot be optional, though. I mean, where’s the fun in that? 🙂
    It would be so awesome to somehow sandwich Cherry Garcia between two of these babies. Ultimate winter ice cream sandwich!

  4. These are so pretty, Sally! I love the white-chocolate drizzle 🙂 I don’t usually like maraschino cherries, but these do look delicious…maybe I would try it with regular cherry juice, though, or cherry-pie filling… 😀

  5. Shortbread are my FAVORITE cookies. Yah, they are definitely not diet cookies…but wikipedia told me that Christmas calories don’t count 🙂
    I love the flavour here..and they’re pink!!! Pinned!

  6. These look to die for! I like making plain shortbread and then dipping them in chocolate and rolling them in fun Christmas sprinkles!
    I love your cookie palooza…can’t wait to see what comes next!!

  7. I can’t get over how thick and puffy these cookies are! Especially with all that butter and cherries- it’s magic!

  8. Cherry almond flavored cookies are among my favorite at holidays! My mom always made a cherry Cornflake cookie during the holidays, and as an adult, I started swapping the vanilla extract for almond. It made them even better than I was used to! And I agree… I’ve overbaked those cookies and their color is… Gross. Best to keep them pretty in pink!

  9. Almond is one of my favorite holiday flavors…it usually finds it’s way into my raspberry recipes…but cherry almond is so yummy too! I love a pink recipe this time of year that isn’t peppermint (though I do love peppermint too!)

  10. A cookie too pretty to eat… LOL, good joke Sally ;o)

    My mom and I were searching for Christmas cookie creations for this year. We came across a cookie recipe with maraschino cherries and I thought it was an odd combination, but I guess these cookies are a good combination afterall! I do love the maraschino cherries on sundaes which is a plus because most people don’t like them (???). More cookies (and cherries) for me!

  11. I love the colour of these, they’re so pretty! Also the white chocolate drizzle is just the perfect finishing touch 🙂

  12. I recently moved to WA state but would love to send these cookies to my mom in KY. Do you think they would make the trip in one peice?

    1. I do. Sandwich the cookies together (back to back) and wrap each “sandwich” of cookies tightly in plastic wrap. Though it may take some time, this method helps them keep their shape during the trip.

  13. My family’s from England, so I grew up with shortbread and a cup of scalding hot tea (well, the grown-ups was…mine was mostly milk and sugar and room temp. lol)!

    I am going to make these for my grandma this year, she will love them!

    Thanks!

  14. These are too pretty!! I love how you combined a buttery shortbread cookie (one of my favorites) with cherries and almond. My mom, sisters, and I do a holiday cookie baking day every year, and this looks like the perfect new recipe to add to our regular favorites!

  15. I’m always so impressed (and inspired!) by your dedication to recipe testing. That’s what makes you such an incredible baking blogger and role model! 🙂 And yes, these cookies are almost too cute to eat… But I’d still down a whole dozen if calories didn’t count!

  16. Shortbread is my favorite of all the cookies, but I almost never stray from the original recipe. I need to live a little, and try something different, because these sound phenomenal! Plus they’re pink! 🙂

  17. Hi Sally,

    These are so pretty. What inspired you to make these? I will promise you that I make these soon. 🙂

    *BTW, I am due any day now. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that my labor goes easily!

    With a whole lotta love!! ~Iram

    1. Iram, prayers and thoughts for you during this special time! I was inspired to make these from a batch of the raspberry almond thumbprints recipe I made recently (linked in this post). The recipes are quite similar!

      1. You made my day. Thank you SO much! I will let you know how it went hopefully very soon! 🙂 Until then happy baking

  18. I love shortbread cookies! And especially if they’re pink like that! Looks beautiful Sally!

  19. Perfect timing! I made cookie similar to this last year but couldn’t find the recipe. Like the cooks of these even better but think I’ll dip in white chocolate instead of drizzle. They’re on deck for Saturday morning!

  20. So much goodness happening in these cookies. Yup, the innards look so very soft. Pinned.

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