Shortbread is festive for many reasons, but the addition of red and green (in high-calorie candy form) makes it legitimately holidayish.
So here’s what happened: I had shortbread dough waiting, patiently, to be brought back to life from the depths of our freezer. I had also just made Icebox Cookies (seriously kick ass), and had a few of the candied cherries left. The rest is obvious. (In case it’s not obvious to you- I rolled the shortbread into little balls, then pressed halves of the candied cherries into the tops of the balls, then baked them. Yep.)
The real question at hand is which cookie is better- the Icebox Cookie (more of a sugar cookie, really), or the Shortbread Cookie with candied cherries (this recipe). Oh dear. I don’t know how to handle this conundrum. I’ll conduct a tasting experiment and let you know the verdict. Or you could do it and tell me first. Please do. (I am seriously split here. It’s like asking me to pick what cat I love the most- Teddy or Andy. I hate you for asking.)
Adapted from my Classic Shortbread Cookie recipe…
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional, but I do like to use)
3/4 cup candied red &/or green cherries, halved
- Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Cream butter with a stand mixer (or hand-held mixer) until light and fluffy (2 – 3 minutes), then add sugar and beat for additional 2 – 3 minutes (scraping sides of bowl a couple of times throughout). Add vanilla if using. Add flour & salt combo and mix on low speed until dough is just incorporated together into a ball.
- Pat dough into a flat disc and wrap with plastic wrap; chill until slightly firm (at least 20 minutes). Scoop dough into heaping tablespoons, roll into balls and press a candied cherry half into the center of the ball (rounded side facing upwards). Chill until cookie shapes are firm before baking, at least an hour (annoying, I know).
- Preheat oven to 325°, and bake shortbread balls until firm to the touch and turning golden brown (about 20 minutes). Cool on a wire rack and indulge.
- Check out the original post for more scoop on baking shortbread.
- No candied cherries? You could always press a walnut or pecan into the top. But won’t scream HOLIDAY.
- Try not to eat all by yourself. If you can.
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