Cherry Shortbread — 25 Days of Christmas Cookies

This cookie started life with the name Cherry Slices and it was good and people love them even to the point of addiction.  Then some customers cam into the tearoom and expected that these Cherry Slices were pie-type cherry slices.  Their disappointment led us to change the name to Cherry Shortbread.  We changed nothing except the name and there was great rejoicing!  No one even noticed except those looking for pie.

When baking for Christmas I like to include Cherry Shortbread for the color as well as the taste.  The red sugared edges and flecks of red cherries in these cookies adds a bright splash of color to a box or plate of cookies.  If you want even more variation, you could make a batch with green maraschino cherries and roll the logs in green sugar.

Cherry Shortbread


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cherry extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 – 10 oz jar maraschino cherries
  • Red sugar


  1. Drain then chop the Maraschino cherries. Using cheesecloth, paper towel or clean tea towel, squeeze all liquid from chopped cherries.  Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and cream cheese till incorporated.
  3. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 – 5 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and cherry extracts and continue beating to incorporate.
  5. Gradually add flour beating only till incorporated.
  6. Stir in chopped maraschino cherries using a spatula or wooden spoon.
  7. Divide dough into 4 – 5 approximately equal portions.
  8. Roll each dough lump into a log about 1 ½ inches diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is best.
  9. Once rolls are fully chilled, roll in red sugar being sure to cover the entire outside of the cylinder. Re-wrap and chill until ready to use.
  10. Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
  11. Slice cookie rolls into 1/4 inch slices. Place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  12. Bake at 375F for 12 – 15 minutes or till cookies begin to brown on bottom.
  13. Cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack and cool completely.
  14. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
  15. Cookies may be frozen up to 3 months in an airtight continer.
  16. Enjoy!


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