Italian Cherry Cookies

Each holiday and season in our family is marked by special foods, and I find that anticipating seasonal baked goods and produce keeps life interesting. I first made these Italian cherry cookies for Christmas, but their pastel pink color and bright cherry flavor makes them perfect for Easter, too. They are similar to the cake-like Sicilian cookies I bake, but instead of anise and vanilla they are flavored with one of my favorite combinations – cherry and almond. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, but they freeze well if you are not able to consume a large batch at once. The cookies need time for the cherry and almond flavors to mature, so make them several days in advance and let them sit in an airtight container. If you eat them the day you make them you might be slightly disappointed by the bland flavor, but once the cookies age they are flavorful and delicious.

Italian Cherry Cookies
1/2 c. unsalted dairy-free margarine or butter
1/2 c. shortening
2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbsp. almond emulsion or extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. almond milk or regular milk
1/2 c. maraschino cherry juice
1 c. maraschino cherries, chopped
7 c. flour (can use 1/2 c. more if too sticky)
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Cherry Glaze
1 c. powdered sugar, sifted
3 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
1-1/2 tsp. almond emulsion or extract

In a mixing bowl combine margarine and shortening. Beat to mix together, then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts. Mix well. Add milk and cherry juice. Mix, then add cherries and beat until mixed, about 1 minute. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt and gradually add to the wet ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. The next day line four baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough and onto hands. Roll dough into balls just a bit larger than a marble. Place on baking sheet and bake 8-9 minutes until cookies are light golden on bottom. Cool on rack. Whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth. Dip cookies into glaze. Let excess glaze drip off. Place on rack to dry. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between cookie layers. Allow cookies to age for several days before eating. Makes 175 cookies.

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This entry was posted in Christmas, Cookies, Dairy-free, Desserts, Easter. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Italian Cherry Cookies

  1. Kara A. says:

    Is it absolutely necessary to refrigerate over night? I would like to bake these tonight.

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