1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender,
cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained
cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in
almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until
it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an
ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped
in sugar, flatten balls to 1 1/2-inch rounds.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set.
Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.
In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the
shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie
into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edge in
nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.
To Store: Layer cookies between wax paper in an airtight container;
cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.