Tuesday, December 9, 2014

White Chocolate Dipped Cherry Shortbread

Before we moved to Minnesota I spent an agonizing amount of time imagining who my new friends would be. Would I even have new friends? What would they look like?  Could they ever compare to and replace the friends I was leaving behind?  The answer is yes.  And no.  Just as I've learned that I love my children fully, equally and differently...I love and adore my new friends fully, equally and differently.  These women who invited me to join their lives, their play groups, book clubs and social events have completed my circle here.   I adore them, I adore their children, I adore how fully full they've made my life these past six months.  Blessed is the word that constantly comes to mind.

And did I mention one of these new friends of mine, Amber, hosted a cookie exchange party?  That's a sure way to get to my heart.  Nine women means nine different kinds of cookies.  Oh, how we've been buzzing around on a sugar high since Saturday night!

I also got to learn how to frost cookies using royal icing, and I am totally hooked.  This icing makes gorgeous cookies!  Thanks for the intro Dawn!

And I got to try an awesome new cookie recipe to bring to the party.  This one will be added into my holiday repertoire from now on.  Cherry shortbread dipped in white chocolate.  Oh my!  Although, the finished product looked a little bit like a Santa with a hat but no facial features, so I can't decide if they are cute or creepy. Thoughts?

Life is good.  God is good.  My heart is full.  I am blessed this holiday season beyond measure.


White Chocolate Dipped Cherry Shortbread
Adapted from BHG

Makes 30 cookies

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped finely
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar, plus 1/2 cup extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, chopped into 1/4" pieces
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Colored sugars or nonpareils for decorating

Preheat oven to 325F.

Spread cherries on a layer of paper towels.  Place another paper towel on top and press lightly to absorb excess moisture.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt and mix briefly to combine.  Add cold butter and mix on medium-low, or use a pastry blender, until the dough resembles coarse meal.  Add cherries, 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chocolate and the almond extract.  Knead the mixture with your hands until it comes together and forms a smooth ball.

Form dough into 1 tablespoon balls and then roll in extra sugar to coat.  Place on cookie sheet approximately 2" apart.  Dip the bottom of a drinking glass in the sugar and then flatten each dough ball.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until centers are set, then set on a wire rack to cool.

Once cookies are completely cooled, melt remaining white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl by cooking for 15 second intervals and stirring after each 15 seconds until completely melted.  Dip half of each cookie into the white chocolate, then dip in colored sugar or nonpareils for decoration. Lay on parchment paper to dry and harden completely.  Then, you should definitely...