Cherry Shortbread Recipe: Colorful, Easy Shortbread Variation

Love cherries? White chocolate? Both? This Cherry Shortbread Recipe is a lovely, colorful variation of the rich, buttery classic bars with your favorite flavors. And it’s so easy to make!

Maraschino cherries are bright red, flavored with sweetener and almond flavoring, and processed in sugar syrup. The trick to using them in this recipe is to chop them finely and then set them in a colander to drain while you mix the cookie dough. This prevents runny or lumpy shortbread and distributes the flavors through the bars.

Cherry Shortbread Recipe with The Cookie Elf

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 20-25 minutes

Makes about 5 - 6 dozen slices of shortbread, ½ inch x 1 inch

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon almond extract

½ cup (10-ounce jar) maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped 

1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips or white baking chocolate, finely chopped

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1-2 teaspoons water or milk

Directions for this Cherry Shortbread Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl continually, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low. Add almond extract. Beat until combined. Gradually stir flour into creamed mixture a bit at a time until well blended, scraping the bowl constantly, until well mixed. Dough will be crumbly.
  4. Use a large spoon to fold in the chopped cherries and chopped white chocolate. (Check out food choppers here.)
  5. With floured fingertips, press dough into the prepared 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake shortbread 20-25 minutes just until the edges begin to brown. 
  6. Remove baking pan from the oven. Use a sharp knife to cut shortbread immediately. Score thin bars, ½ inch by 1 inch (or whatever size you choose.) Let shortbread cool completely in the pan.
  7. While shortbread cools, whisk together the glaze. Use a spoon to combine powdered sugar, almond extract and 1-2 teaspoons milk or water. Add additional milk or water 1 teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency. Drizzle glaze over cooled bars.
  8. To remove bars from the pan, lift ends of parchment paper. Recut through scores if necessary.
  9. Store shortbread in an airtight container.

Special Baking Tips for this Cherry Shortbread Recipe

Cut shortbread as soon as you remove it from the oven, while its surface is pliable and soft. If you wait until the shortbread sets, then edges will crumble.

You can cut shortbread in ½ - 1 inch wide strips the length of the pan and then 1 -1 ½ inch bars widthwise.

Glaze is the best when it drips in a steady stream from the spoon, rather than with a sluggish or runny consistency.

See more shortbread variations on our Pinterest board.

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