Sour Cherry Almond Hearts

Sour Cherry Almond Hearts_n

Tart dried cherries, sour cherry concentrate and almond extract combine to create wonderful flavors in these cookies which can be cut into fun and festive shapes to suit any holiday. 

One flavor we enjoy in our culinary creations is sour cherry. It has a wonderful flavor and stirs memories of our home in Sacramento and our sour cherry tree laden with ripe, bright red fruit. We always looked forward to seeing the birds this tree attracted as well as the ice creams, biscotti and sauces for pork and chicken the fruit starred in. While we can’t get sour cherries here in the Arctic, dried cherries are a must on our annual shopping list. This past summer during our annual bulk shopping, we came across sour cherry concentrate at Natural Pantry, a health food store in Anchorage. The concentrate, which claims  antioxidant benefits when consumed daily, was in the store’s vitamin section.

Of course, our first thoughts upon finding this concentrate went to the kitchen where we imagined an extraordinarily tangy-sweet syrup for our homemade Italian-style sodas and for Jack’s giant pancakes. The combination of the concentrate and the dried cherries sets these cookies far apart from the ordinary. Cherry liqueur might be a good substitute for the concentrate in the dough recipe.

Sour Cherry Almond Cookies

Ingredients

Cookie dough:

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1  1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cherries
  • 1 tbsp sour cherry concentrate

Frosting:

  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp sour cherry concentrate
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until incorporated.
  4. Add sugar, almond extract, salt and sour cherry concentrate. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Mix in half the flour until combined.
  6. Mix in dried cherries and remaining flour until combined.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes using a cookie cutter.
  8. Place cut cookies on cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 14 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned.
  10. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then finish cooling on wire rack.
  11. While cookies are cooling, make frosting.

Frosting Directions:

  1. Clean and dry mixer bowl and beater.
  2. Combine cream cheese, butter and sour cherry concentrate in mixer bowl and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds.
  3. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Frosting should be of spreading consistency.
  4. When cookies are cooled, pipe frosting onto center of cookie.

Recipe makes 2 dozen cookies.

10 thoughts on “Sour Cherry Almond Hearts

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