Holiday Shortbread

December 16, 2011 § 5 Comments

My friend and I have been friends since first grade. I won’t tell you how old I am now, but we have been friends for a pretty long time! It is her brother’s 30th b-day party and we are going to celebrate on Saturday. I am going to stay at my friend’s house over the weekend, so I wanted to make her  an extra special hostess gift. I think she will love these dried cherry and almond shortbread bars. Instead of shortbread cookies, which take some time to roll out and cut, making shortbread bars is a quick and easy alternative. They are the prefect holiday hostess gift!

Place cookies on a disposable Christmas plate and decorate with some festive plastic wrap and ribbon.

They are really good with a cup of coffee. I have to admit…I had these for breakfast this morning…

Find a dried cherry brand that you like. I have tried several brands, but I like Mariani the best. With some brands I have tried, the cherries have a firm and chewy texture, which is not pleasant to eat.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (plus 2 tablespoons extra for sprinkling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and spray 2 (8 inch) cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour and salt, set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low-speed, add in the flour and mix until just incorporated. Add in the vanilla, cherries, almonds and mix until the dough forms large clumps and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Pour the dough out onto a cutting board and divide into two equal parts. Press each piece of dough into a cake pan and prick the surface all over with a fork. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle each pan immediately with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Take a knife and run it around the edges of the cake pan to loosen the shortbread, turn over onto a cutting board and cut into pieces.

Makes about 16 large or 32 small cookies

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