The merriest of all Christmas cookies! Santa’s Whiskers Cookies are soft slice and bake cookies flavored with almond, studded with cherries, and rolled in coconut.
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (63g) finely chopped maraschino cherries (I used a mix of green and red)*
- 1 cup (80g) sweetened shredded coconut, for rolling
- optional: one 4-ounce white chocolate baking bar and extra coconut for topping
- In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and continue to beat until fully combined. On low speed, beat in the flour and salt until combined. The cookie dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Switch to low speed and beat in the cherries *just* until combined. Too much beating will turn the cookie dough pink. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!)
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and, with floured hands, divide or cut into two. Shape each half into an 8-inch log, about 2.5 inches in diameter. The measurements don’t have to be exact. Roll each log in the shredded coconut. Tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I prefer to chill mine for 4 hours or even overnight– the colder the dough, the thicker the cookies.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
- Slice each log into 12 equally thick cookies and place cookies on baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- If desired, drizzle the cooled cookies with white chocolate. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 15-second increments, stopping and stirring after each until completely smooth. Drizzle on the cookies. Sprinkle with extra coconut, if desired. Allow chocolate to set completely in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Cookies without chocolate will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies with chocolate will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. You can make/assemble the cookie dough logs and chill in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (see step 2). Cookie dough logs freeze well too, up to 3 months. Allow the logs to thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 3.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Baking Sheet | Silpat Baking Mat | Cooling Rack | Shredded Coconut
- Cherries: I used maraschino cherries and green candied cherries– I found the green cherries in the holiday section of my regular grocery store. If you can’t get your hands on green cherries, just use red maraschino cherries or add some salted or unsalted pistachios or green sprinkles. Dried cranberries or dried cherries are a wonderful substitute for the red cherries too! Stick with around 3/4 cup – 1 cup total add-ins. If using maraschino cherries packed in juice, lightly blot before or after chopping.
- Nuts: Santa’s Whiskers Cookies typically contain nuts, but I skipped the nuts in this recipe. If desired, use half chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios and half chopped cherries. Stick with around 3/4 cup – 1 cup total add-ins.
- Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.