WE wrap up this year's Christmas cookies with a rich, buttery shortbread studded with cherries and chocolate, from Jeanette Johnston of Keewatin, Ont.
I'd like to thank everyone who generously took the time to send in their favourites, and I'm sorry I couldn't fit everyone's cookies into 12 days. Thanks to Carole Tattersall, Pat Gerbrandt, Linda Watson, Carol Gillis, Berenice Keryluk, Sheila Papove, Donalda Johnson, Janet Mead and her 4H club, Sylvia Cassie, Mari-Jean Nachtigall, Susan Chodirker, Diane Holigroski, Jodi Overton, Edna Mroz and Karen Makowski. (I hope I haven't left anyone out.)
Until 2014, happy holidays to everyone, and good baking.
Chocolate Cherry Shortbread
500 ml (2 cups) butter, softened
250 ml (1 cup) icing sugar
10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla
750 ml (3 cups) all-purpose flour
250 ml (1 cup) cornstarch
325 ml (1 1/3 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
250 ml (1 cup) candied red cherries
Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F). In large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter until light. Gradually add icing sugar and vanilla, beating until creamy. Gradually add flour and cornstarch, beating until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and cherries. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in centre of oven for 25-30 minutes, or until just set and starting to brown around edges.
Tester's notes: I like the combo of chocolate and cherries. I used dark chocolate chips, which are now easy to find in most supermarket baking sections, for a deep chocolate flavour. Cornstarch gives the shortbread a very fine, delicate texture, which is lovely but also means the cookie can be fragile. Handle and store with care. If you're not baking for a crowd, this recipe can be halved.