2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (6 ounce) bottle red maraschino cherries, drained, blotted dry and finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 to 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet baking chocolate, melted, optional
Evenly coat two Madeleine pans (12 shells per pan, each 3 inches long) or 3 small muffin pans (12 muffins per pan, each 1 3/4-inch diameter) with spray. Dust with flour. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl at high speed, beat together eggs and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Beat in almond extract and vanilla extract. Fold in flour, about 1/3 at a time. Fold in butter, about 1/3 at a time. Fold in cherries. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into each Madeleine shell or 1 1/2 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup.
Bake in preheated oven – 375 degrees F for shiny aluminum pans or 350 degrees F for black nonstick pans – until cake tester inserted near centers comes out clean and cookies pull away from sides of pans, about 8 to 10 minutes for Madeleine pans or 10 to 12 minutes for muffin pans.
Cool on wire racks. If you like, dip shell ends or muffin tops in chocolate. Cool on wax or parchment paper until chocolate is set.
Yield: 24 (3-inch) shell-shaped cookies or 32 muffin-shaped cookies