If my kid, husband, mortgage, full-time job and two cars weren’t, my love for these shortbreads is a sure sign that I’m a grown-up.
When I was a kid, at Christmas time I always reached for the coconut and graham wafer-wrapped cherry balls, stuffing two in my mouth at a time, puffing my cheeks out like the squirrels collecting birdseed in the back yard. I would choose just one rectangular slice of my mom’s rum cake, mostly just for the sticky sweetness of the green maraschino cherries and not for the candied peel. The nanaimo bars always looked better than they tasted; the almond flavoured cherry coconut square never let me down. But my mom’s whipped shortbreads were not a Christmas goodie that I ever indulged in. The way they crumbled, melting on my tongue; the way they contained not one bit of chocolate. They were not my favourite. I couldn’t figure out what all the grown-ups were raving about when they saw cherry-topped shortbread cookies on the tray of treats that was offered to everyone who came to visit.
And then, a few years ago, in an effort to stock my pantry and freezer with chocolate and caramel and coconut and cherry, little squares, tiny cookies, and sweet bites just in case people came knocking at our door, deciding to drop by, impelled by Christmas cheer, and needing to be fed, I made my mom’s whipped shortbreads myself.
So it was that I became a grownup. Served still-warm with a cup of tea and bitten through so that the maraschino cherry positively pops with warm juice, these cookies are Christmas. They belong in a red and white snowflake-patterned tin on a shelf in your pantry, intended for happenstance visitors but in reality eaten one a day, just here and there, by each member of the household, until they are nothing but buttery crumbles that dissolve in your mouth when licked off a moist fingertip.
The best thing is, these cookies take no time at all to make – just a few minutes of beating with a stand mixer or electric beater and about 15 minutes in the oven, and you’re well on your way to a fully-stocked Christmas goodie tray. Just in case.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- Maraschino cherries, halved
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
- Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat, using the whisk attachment, until light and fluffy; about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can use electric beaters to the same effect.
- Dollop a small spoonful of batter, evenly spaced, on the baking sheets. Top with a cherry.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are slightly browned. Enjoy!