Almond Cherry Bites
Dried cherries, ground almonds and a drizzle of chocolate make these cookies festive for the holidays.
Makes: 15 cookies
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg white
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons chocolate chips or finely chopped dark and/or white chocolate, for decoration (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grind almonds and sugar in a food processor to desired texture: a coarser texture will give you small almond pieces in the cookie; a fine grind will give great almond flavor without any crunch from the almonds. (Be careful to not over-grind: you will get almond paste.)
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add cherries and flour; mix to combine.
Add oil, egg white and vanilla and almond extracts; mix with a wooden spoon until well incorporated.
Shape the dough into walnut-size balls with your hands or a small cookie scoop (about 1 rounded tablespoon each) and place 1 1/2 inches apart on a large, ungreased baking sheet.
Bake until the bottoms are golden (the top will stay white), 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt chocolate (see Tip) and drizzle or pipe onto each cooled cookie, if desired. Let stand until the chocolate sets.
Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze without the chocolate drizzle (Step 6) for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature before drizzling with chocolate.
Kitchen Tips: To melt chocolate, place chocolate in a bowl and microwave on Medium for 45 seconds.
Stir; continue microwaving on Medium in 20-second intervals until almost melted, stirring after each interval.
Continue stirring until completely melted. Or place in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.
To decorate cookies with melted chocolate, use a pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip to pipe the melted chocolate or dip tines of a fork in chocolate and drizzle.
You can improvise a pastry bag with a small plastic bag. Add melted chocolate to the bag, cut a tiny hole in one corner and squeeze the chocolate out.