“If wishes and buts were cherries and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas,” or so says 1/3 of Buttertooth whenever I prattle on about what I’m wishing for this holiday season. But in this case, he’s right: our wishes and buts have turned into cherries and nuts in this updated version of our holiday classic . . . and dang it if we won’t have a merry Christmas.
Step one to Christmas jubilation is making these cookies, and step two is even simpler—eating them. Gifting them. Eating some more. Ok, those are technically steps two through four, but their guiding principle is essentially the same, i.e. shoving cookies down your Christmashole.
I’ve written to you in the past about this Christmas cookie tradition, and I’m here to say again that these are the cookies of the season. They are bite-size, delicious, and remarkably unfussy. We’ve updated them this year to match better the colors of Christmas and to create a slightly more indulgent flavor profile with the addition of almond flavoring, pistachio, and decadent Italian cherries. This is a grown-up confection (knowing full well that grown-ups don’t say grown-up, but rather adult), brimming with texture and color, much like the cashmere sweater you covet but can’t afford until after you’ve finally started that Roth IRA (or so I overheard waiting in line at the Dierbergs Coinstar).
So indulge this Christmas in some wishes née cherry nut cookies. We hope you have the best holiday ever, or—failing that—the best cookie.
With love and butter, we are yours, always,
- 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg, separated
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ cups finely chopped pistachios
- Amarena cherries, pitted, stemmed, and halved
- Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together with the egg yolk. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt, and mix until combined.
- In ½ cup increments, mix the flour in until combined. Fold ½ cup of the nuts into the cookie dough. The dough will be a bit sticky.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg white for a few seconds with a fork. In a separate bowl, add the rest of the nuts.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, dip one end into the egg white and then into the chopped nuts. Line them on the baking sheet approximately ½ an inch apart. They can be fairly close together, as they don’t spread much in the baking process.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottoms. Once you remove the cookies from the oven, press the candied cherry halves into the center of each cookie while still soft and warm.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.