RECIPE: Almond Cherry White Chocolate Swirl Cookies

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I often wonder what it would be like to move to a farm for a month before Christmas, and just live simply. No shopping. No fighting with crazy ladies over parking spots. No honking. No credit cards. No crazy entertaining. No expensive greeting cards. Gifts are handmade-if given at all. I think it would be lovely to strip it down to the basics. Think how much more joyful the whole experience would be?

One thing is for sure, I would still bake my insane amount of cookies. But I would enjoy it more because I would not be jamming it into the rest of the crazy. I would have time to visit with neighbors as I drop off platefuls of goodies. I would probably have time to bake some kinds I have always wanted to try. 

Well, here is a cookie that I have always wanted to create. It's a cherry almond flavor twirl cookie. I made this baby up, and I added the white chocolate for a hint of creaminess. These are really pretty in the cookie mix. You can also kick up the cherry flavor by adding cherry extract or kirsch, if you wish. But I liked them as is.

Try enjoying the holidays a little more. 
Run around less. Buy less. Bake more. Visit more. Enjoy more. I know I'm trying...with not much luck. But I'm trying!


Almond Cherry White Chocolate Swirls

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup ground almond paste
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. Maraschino cherry juice
1/4 cup finely chopped Maraschino cherries
1/4 cup finely chopped white chocolate
1 Tbsp. red food coloring or more
Red colored decorative sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚.


Beat butter and sugar until creamy and light. Add the almond paste and whip until combined. Add the eggs and almond extract until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add 2 cups of flour until just combined.

Split the dough into two even parts. In one half, add the cherries with the juice. Add the red food coloring, and mix well with a fork. Then add the remaining 1/2 cup flour until dough is able to be shaped well. Add more red food coloring to get the bright color you want. In the white half of the dough, add the white chocolate and combine well.




 Lightly flour a 12-14" sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the red dough into a rectangle on the floured plastic. Then lightly flour top of the dough and cover the rectangle with another 12-14" sheet of plastic wrap and roll it out to 1/8 inch thick. Do the same for the white dough.



Now peel the plastic off both doughs. Carefully pull up the white dough by pulling up the plastic wrap edges. Carefully flip the white dough onto the red dough as evenly as possible, adjusting it to the edges. I trim off excess edges and patch areas that are missing coverage. Then I gently roll the top twice to smooth out the patches.


With the long edge of the dough/plastic wrap,  roll the dough tightly into a long log. Wrap it in plastic and with your palms roll it back and forth to even out the diameter across the log. Cut the log in the middle. Wrap each half in plastic wrap. Roll both again back and forth to even them out and wrap separately. Freeze for an hour or in the fridge for two. Once chilled well, roll logs in red colored decorators sugar if you want, so the outer sides have a nice coating. Slice the chilled rolls with a serrated knife into 1/4" thick discs.

Place discs 1" apart on parchment lined baking sheet for about 8 min, switching racks midway. Edges should just starting getting golden. Transfer cookies to cooling racks while still warm to cool completely.

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