Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

This is my favorite shortbread cookie, in part because the dough is tasty (and no eggs, so no dough-eating guilt, yay!) and in part because it is so flippin’ easy.  Foolproof, I might even say.  And endlessly tweak-able.  This is the same dough base that I use in my Ribbon Shortbread Cookies, which is one of the most popular posts on C&T.  In this version, I’m swapping out the vanilla for some cherry flavor, cutting them into heart shapes, and topping them with heart-shaped cherry candy.  Because it is February.  And that’s what we do in February.

Whip up a stack of these and tie them up with a ribbon, they’re sure to melt your Valentine’s heart!  Or be like me and eat them all yourself, and then swear to your husband that you didn’t bake anything. And smile like an angel.

Stay tuned for the next post, which will have tips on how to make your own Valentine Message Cookies (just like those little candy hearts, but so, so much better).  And no rants about Mommyhood.  Pinky swear.

One year ago on C&T: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and Cinnamon Marshmallows

Two years ago on C&T: Olympic Nanaimo Bars

Three (!) years ago on C&T: Chocolate Modeling Clay

Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 sticks + 2 Tbsp butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp cherry extract
  • heart shaped cherry candies for decoration

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix.  Cut butter into chunks and add to food processor.  Process for about 30 seconds at a time, pausing to break up any large clumps and stir things around a bit, until it is just starting to come together.  Sprinkle cherry extract over the top and continue to process until the butter is completely distributed.  Pour out onto a large silpat or parchment paper and press gently into a large round.  (You can also do this in a mixer, just start with fully softened butter.) If your room is warm or the dough feels very soft and sticky, place it in a ziploc or wrap well in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, or the refrigerator for an hour.  Once the dough is firm enough not to stick to your rolling pin or hands, it is ready to roll!

Roll the dough out to your desired thickness – I like a thicker cookie, so I generally aim for somewhere between a quarter and a half inch thick.  Keep in mind that the thicker you roll the dough, the fewer cookies you’ll get and the longer they will need to bake.  And vice versa.  I find it easiest to roll the dough by laying it on a silpat or sheet of parchment, then covering it with another sheet of parchment (plastic wrap also works) and rolling over the top of that, pausing every so often to flip the dough over.  Once you reach the desired thickness, use cutters to cut the shapes you want (hearts!).  Place the cut dough shapes on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment sheet.  Press a heart shaped candy lightly into the top of each cookie, if desired, and freeze for 10 minutes to help the cookies retain their shape.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the cookies for 10 to 15 minutes – just until they look slightly puffed and set – less time for thin cookies and small shapes, more time for thick cookies and larger shapes.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.

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