December 20, 2011

Wonderful Cherry Nut Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Day 354 of Vintage 365

Call me biased, but my mom - who is a stellar home cook, period - is amongst the best bakers I've ever encountered in my whole life, and there are few arenas where her culinary skills shine more brightly than when she makes her annual trove of flat out amazing holiday desserts and sweet treats.

Today's recipe, the second in this week's series of my family's classic Christmas dishes, is amongst my favourite holiday cookies of all time (and is one that I often make for friends and family to enjoy during this festive time season, just as my mom still does, too).

{Utilizing classic mid-twentieth century ingredients, including margarine, these festive shortbread cookies have the sort of timeless appeal ensures they'll continue to be loved by generations to come. Beautifully illustrated 1950s margarine ad via Paul.Malon on Flickr.}
Much like turkey gravy, mincemeat pie, or plum pudding, for me the aroma of these delightful little rounds of glistening red fruit studded cookies instantly evokes memories of Christmases past and is endlessly tied to holiday meals, past and present, for me and my family.

Cherry Nut Shortbread Cookies


-1 cup softened (but not melted) margarine
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup chopped nuts (my family usually uses walnuts, but anything from pistachios to almonds would work nicely, too)
-1/2 cup finely chopped (drained) maraschino cherries
-Sifted icing sugar (to dust cookies with after they're baked)


In a medium to large sized mixing bowl, thoroughly cream the margarine and sugar together either by hand or with an electric mixer; blend in the vanilla. Add flour and salt, sifted together, and stir well.
Fold in chopped nuts and cherries, then chill dough (in mixing bowl) in the fridge for at least one hour.

Shape dough into one inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about half an inch apart (these cookies really don't expand very much upon baking). Bake at 325°F (160°C/gas mark 3) for 18-20 minutes, placing cookie sheet on an oven rack that is a little higher than the center of your oven.

Transfer cookies to cooling racks and while still a warm, dust liberally with icing (powdered) sugar.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze (and these do freeze really nicely - they even taste delicious when eaten frozen!) for four months.

I love how easy this recipe is to make and that one can often prepare it simply based on ingredients you have in your pantry already (especially at this time of the year).

You can multiple it as your heart desires, and also (for a fun change of pace) use green maraschino cherries instead of red, if you'd like. Either way, the inclusion of these splendidly sweet jarred fruits lends this scrumptious holiday cookie recipe such a marvelous vintage vibe.

Happy cookie baking and a very joyful Christmas countdown to all of you!


  1. These cherry cookies sound lovely. I do a lot of baking but for some reason cookies never feature, perhaps this should be a NY resolution.

  2. I love family recipes! This looks super easy to veganize -- maybe I'll give it a shot! :)

  3. in your recipe you just have 1/2 white sugar..... I take it to mean 1/2 cup of white sugar??

    1. Great spotting. Yes, I mean 1/2 cup white sugar and have updated the recipe accordingly. Thank you very much for bringing that missing word to my attention. I really appreciate it.

      Happy baking!
      ♥ Jessica