My original recipe. I came up with this out of necessity when I needed a special cookie for a Holiday party. Rich cherry almond flavor in a cream cheese dough. Be sure to soak the cherries before using or filling will be dry. Cooking/prep time does not reflect time to refrigerate dough.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces butter, at room temperature
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups sweet red dried cherries (I used Bing)
- 1⁄2 cup amaretto liqueur
- 1⁄4 cup white grape juice (or white wine)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1⁄4 cup raw sugar (Turbinado)
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole almonds (unsalted)
- Dough: Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, until light.
- Add sugar, salt and vanilla until moistened. With mixer on low, add flour and mix until combined.
- Dump dough onto well-floured board and roll into a ball. Divide ball into quarters, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Filling: Soak cherries in a combination of Amaretto and white grape juice for several hours (in a pinch, heat on low until liquid is hot but do not boil, then add cherries and soak at least 20 minutes - allow to cool before using).
- Place cherry mixture, almond extract, sugar and almonds in food processor, fitted with metal blade. Pulse/process until ingredients form a grainy paste (if necessary add a little more liquid). Scrape sides down once during processing.
- Roll out each dough ball to a uniform thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut into 2 inch circles and place on parchment covered cookie sheets. Place a level measuring teaspoon of filling in center of each round. Pull over to fold in half (forming a half moon) and press edges gently together to form a seal.
- If desired, brush each cookie with an egg wash of 1 beaten egg and 1 tablespoon milk just before baking.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until bottom edge becomes golden. Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.