Now that it’s officially Christmas at my house, and now that I’ve created this nifty holiday blog graphic:
…it’s time to start the holiday posts!
To kick off the ELT Holiday Blog Bash ‘11, I’m posting the recipe I used for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. This swap was quite the undertaking – over 22,000 cookies were swapped in the last month!
We were instructed to make three dozen cookies and send each of our three matched blogs a dozen. In return, we’d receive a dozen from three different spots in the country.
Before I get into my recipe, let me thank the three bakers that sent me their amazing creations:
- Food Family & Vino – an excellent almond biscotti
- Foodnook – butterscotch gingerbread cookies that were gone in a day
- Moore or Less Cooking – caramel almond bars
Bad news about those last cookies though – the squirrels got to them before I did!
I was appalled when I came home and the above box was completely torn open. I held my breath while opening the package, and when I pulled out the bag, I saw the terrible truth…
The squirrels had eaten 11 out of 12 of the cookies!
I was so sad that Nettie had worked so hard on these cookies and they landed in the squirrel’s belly instead of mine.
Well, to make up for the sad state of affairs I discovered last week, here’s the cookies I made for the swap.
I wanted to make something different. These cookies met that challenge and exceeded it with their buttery, almond, cherry taste. From Better Homes and Gardens, these white-chocolate cherry shortbread cookies (I prefer cherry butter cookies) are a unique venture into holiday baking that I hope to make an annual treat!
Cherry Butter Cookies (adapted from BH&G)
(yields about 40 cookies)
- 1 jar maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve about 2 tbsp of juice!)
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup cold butter
- 12 ounces white chocolate baking squares or chips (the higher the quality, the better)
2 tsp almond extract
- 1 tbsp butter
Red sprinkles (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spread the cherries on paper towels to drain, reserving a couple tablespoons of the juice.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the cup of cold butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the drained cherries and 2 ounces of the chopped chocolate (anywhere from 1/4-1/2 cup). Stir in the almond extract and cherry juice. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
(If the dough won’t stick, add a few drops of water until it does)
Now, you can shape the dough into 3/4-inch balls or use a round cookie cutter. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. My circles were very small, about an inch I believe. If you shape the dough yourself, use the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar to flatten the balls to about 1.5 inch rounds (I tried this, and it worked well).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for just a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
(I ended up using a small gingerbread man cookie cutter for the last batch, to get the most out of the dough)
To make the white chocolate dip, combine the chocolate and last tablespoon of butter in a small pot and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, allowing it to drip before taking out. Immediately roll the wet edge in red sprinkles, if desired.
You can also drizzle the white chocolate over the cookies, which is probably easier. Place the cookies on wax paper until chocolate has hardened.
Well, there you have it! I shipped off the cookies to three very different places across the country and crossed my fingers they’d make it in one piece. I heard from one recipient that they were in fact in one piece – hope my other matches enjoyed theirs!
Question: Have you ever sent baked good through the mail? Ever have issues with them arriving in one piece (or at all)?