Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today's my father's birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!!

Men, I think, are especially hard to buy presents for, especially men who have everything. :-P But no one loves cherries like my dad. Cherry pie, cherry cobbler, chocolate covered cherries, Black Forest Cake, and on and on the list goes. So when I saw the recipe for these White Chocolate Cherry shortbread cookies I knew I'd have to give them a try. They'll be perfect to dip in his afternoon coffee - not that Dad has time for afternoon coffee... but the holidays are coming!

The Ingredients List and Recipe are both pretty simple.

1/2 cup drained, finely chopped maraschino cherries 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate, chips or squares, chopped into small pieces. [4 for the cookies, then some for dipping. I mixed it up and dipped some of the cookies in dark chocolate, too, so I used less white]
1/2 tsp almond extract
Red glitter sprinkles!

 Ok. First things first. Drain those cherries and put them on a paper towel to absorb all the high fructose corn syrup, I mean, juice. [I just used a 6 oz can, and chopped all of them, even though it was slightly more than half a cup... I wasn't going to do anything else with them :)]

Then, go ahead and mix your flour and sugar. And, depending on how long your oven takes to preheat, it'll need to be set at 325 F, so do that whenever necessary.
 Next, open up that butter and cut it into the dry mixture... [seriously, pastry cutters are a life saver]
 Cut it until it resembles "fine crumbs." . . . close, but not there yet.


Chop those cherries up now... lovin' my one-touch chopper for projects like this!
And mix those cherries in with 4 oz of the white chocolate. [I was having so much fun with my chopper that I went ahead and chopped up my white chocolate chips, too.]

Mix together really well. And then, with your [clean] hands knead the dough til firm.
Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls... 
... Then press 'em flat! Bake at 325F for 10 minutes. Cookies will harden while cooling, so don't over cook them.
[If you forget to press your first batch flat it's not the end of the world...] 
Once the cookies have cooled they're ready to be bea-ut-i-fied! So, prepare to melt the chocolate however you know best. I don't like to put the chocolate directly in the pan on the burner because it tends to heat too quickly, burn, and then harden. My solution to this is a glass bowl inside a pot of nearly boiling water.

 At this point you will also need your pretty sprinkles ready! Pour them into a small bowl, so they form a nice pile to evenly coat the cookies.

Add about 2 Tbsp of oil and the chocolate over your warm pan, 
and slowly heat until chocolate 
begins to melt.
Stir gently until smooth. Then, carefully dip one half of the cookie into the chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off.
Roll in sprinkles and place on parchment paper to dry.
Enjoy then with dark chocolate too!

Happy Birthday Dad! I hope you enjoy these (and don't share all of them... though I know you're going to anyway.:))

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