This recipe is certainly a rara avis in my family’s culinary canon: a recipe by my mother.
At least, the yellowed card is written in her handwriting, and it’s one she has professed to have made before. Whatever the provenance, I’ve never encountered these cookies anywhere else, and they are certainly delicious. Before you shrink away at the mention of candied cherries, I urge you: give these cookies a chance. Candied cherries have a use besides fruitcake briquettes. You can transform them from a hallmark of holiday hack to a delightful addition to these buttery cookies. These are always the first cookies to disappear from the cookie tray when I take an assortment in to work.
Sesame Cherry Cookies
- 1 C butter, room temperature
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2 C unsifted all-purposed flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 C sesame seeds
- 1/3 C (give or take) candied cherry halves
Preheat oven to 400º. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add almond extract, flour, and salt and continue beating until the dough is well-mixed. Do not over-mix the dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour. Chill your cookie sheet, as well. Pour sesame seeds into a bowl. Once the dough is chilled , shape the dough is 1 inch balls. A melon baller or a teaspoon are great to use to help shape uniform cookies.
Roll the balls in the sesame seeds. Place the cookies 1 – 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. If the dough begins to warm up, pop the dough and the cookies in the refrigerator to cool it off. You will probably need two cookies sheets to hold all the cookies.
Press a candied cherry half into the center of each cookie. Bake for 9-11 minutes; the cookies will spread a bit but should not brown.
When done, remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.