I had bought some dried cherries for a certain dish and was looking for a way to use up some of the leftovers. I combined several ideas in this version of lemony-good shortbread with the sharp tang of dried cherries which had been soaked in cherry liqueur. Brandy would also be fine for soaking the cherries, but I happened to have some cherry liqueur left from another recipe and this gave me the chance to use a some more of it.
It takes a little planning ahead to make the cookies since the cherries are soaked for 4-5 hours and then the dough is refrigerated for 3-4 hours. The cookies are well worth it.
LEMON SHORTBREAD WITH DRIED CHERRIES
- ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries
- ½ cup cherry liqueur or brandy
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
- 2 tsp. lemon extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Place dried cherries in a half-pint jar and pour the cherry liqueur or brandy over them. Cover with a lid and allow to soak for 4-5 hours or overnight.
When ready to use, drain the cherries, reserving the juice for another recipe in the future.
Place the drained cherries on a paper towel.
Using the paper towel, blot the cherries. Chop the cherries coarsely with a knife. Set aside.
In the large bowl of a mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar. Beat in lemon peel and lemon extract.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture until the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
By hand, stir in the brandied cherries.
Divide dough into two portions, shaping each portion into a 7-½ inch long roll.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Unwrap dough and cut each roll crosswise into 14 half- inch slices. Place the slices on ungreased baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Remove shortbread from baking sheets to racks to cool.
Yield: 28 small shortbread cookies.