White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

I have to say this might be my favorite cookie that I have made so far this holiday season. Buttery shortbread cookies speckled with white chocolate and fresh cranberries. I found this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and knew I had to give it a try!

Since I had so many cranberries lying around I decided to use them instead of the maraschino cherries that the original recipe called for. The result was fabulous and so festive! Since this is a shortbread recipe, don’t be surprised if the dough is crumbly and somewhat dry. A shortbread is just flour, sugar and butter and sometimes it can be a finicky dough. You really have to “get your hands dirty” and use them to form the balls. Everything will come together once you knead them into a ball. Resist the urge to add liquid and keep kneading..trust me the result is worth it! :D

White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 teaspoons shortening
Red sanding sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together flour and sugar. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
Stir in chopped cranberries and 4 ounces of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in almond extract and food coloring. The mixture will be crumbly. Knead mixture until it begins to stick together. Using a tablespoon, mold dough into a 1 ½ inch ball. With your hand, flatten balls into a 1-1/2-inch round and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
n a small saucepan over low heat, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Roll dipped edge or half in sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

Recipe Note: store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

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