Be my Valentine…

The hearts are pink

The cherries are red

The chocolate is white

The cookies are shortbread

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We all know I am no cook, chef, or baker.  Below is the extent of my “baking supplies”. The only mixer I own is that hand held one.  It was a hand me down that I procured right out of college.  I am guessing it is as old as I am!

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Anyway, I am just a common person who loves cookies. Though, I probably love cookies more than any other common person on the planet.  In fact, I am going to go as far as to say that I am a “cookie connoisseur”  – or as Tad says “cookie snob”.  I think it is safe to conclude that I have tried thousands of cookies over the years.  At one point I was eating 6-12 cookies every day!  I eventually realized that I needed to back off – because there is no way I can exercise enough to burn off that many extra calories every day.  Now, I try to limit my cookie intake to once a month.  I spend the entire month thinking about which cookie is going to get the privilege of being eaten that month. Since my cookie intake is now limited, I want to make the best of it. I can’t justify wasting my monthly cookie splurge on store bought cookies.  So, I only eat handmade/homemade cookies.  I have narrowed it down to chocolate chip cookies and white chocolate cherry almond shortbread cookies.  These are my favorite.  I realize this all may sound a little crazy.  It works for me.

Holidays are always a good time for a special treat in my opinion.  The white chocolate cherry almond shortbread cookies seem obviously perfect for Valentine’s Day.  These cookies are pink and easily shaped into hearts.  I discovered these cookies one afternoon in a local cupcake shop.  They were pretty, pink, and irresistible.  My mom used to make a cherry chip cake every year for my birthday.  It was pink.  It was delicious.  I loved my cherry chip cakes.

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These cookies remind me of those cherry chip cakes. These cookies are as good – maybe, even better than those cherry chip cakes. The cupcake shop didn’t want to divulge their recipe to me – because they get to charge $1.25 per cookie! Being the “cookie connoisseur” that I am – I became obsessed.  I searched extensively for a recipe that matched the cupcake shop cookies.  I found a bunch of recipes that were all really similar, just not exact.  I ended up combining elements from a few and arrived at an almost perfect reproduction.  My cookies aren’t as perfect looking as the bakery cookies, but they taste just as good…

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White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped.  Reserve the liquid from cherries for later use.
  • 2 1/2 cups flour.
  • 1/2 cup sugar.
  • 1 cup of cold butter.
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips – chop 2/3 of the chips.
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract.
  • Red food coloring – optional.
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil or shortening.

Making the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Combine flour and sugar.
  3. Cut in the butter with pastry blender or fork until the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Stir in drained/chopped cherries.
  5. Stir in chopped chocolate chips.
  6. Stir in almond extract.
  7. Stir in 2-4 Tablespoons of the reserved cherry liquid to obtain the correct consistency – the mixture will look dry but will form a ball when rolled in your hands.  I usually like my shortbread cookies less dry/crumbly so I use 4 Tablespoons or more of the liquid.
  8. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you would like the cookies to have more color.  The cherry liquid is usually enough color for me.
  9. Shape dough into balls then press into the heart cookie cutter.  These cookies don’t spread very much during baking.  You can also press the balls down with a glass or fork or potato masher if you want just round cookies.
  10. Bake 10-15 minutes.  The center of the cookie should be set, but be sure not to over bake them.
  11. Once the cookies have cooled, they are ready for white chocolate drizzle.  Melt the remaining chocolate chips and 1-2 teaspoons of oil or shortening.  With a spoon, drizzle on the white chocolate.
  12. Enjoy!