White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Today’s post is probably the most colourful cookie or square of the 24  Days of Christmas Baking so far. I have made this cookie for the last 4 years or so. It comes from the 2005 Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. All my kids love it but Eli (6) loves it more than any other cookie I make. One other cookie I bake is Santa’s Whiskers and Eli has named today’s cookie Santa’s Beard. He says that the half of the cookie dipped in melted chocolate looks like Santa’s beard so that is the rationale for the name. I think he has a point so now I bake Santa’s Whiskers and Santa’s Beard.

This cookie tastes amazing. The white chocolate and cherry go so well together and having them baked into a tender shortbread is just perfect. They taste awesome and the cookie adds a wonderful bright colour to a cookie tray. It was the colour that caused me to bake this coolie in the first place as I was wanting some red on the tray and I am so glad that I did. They are a family favourite and guests love it as well!

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread

The recipe calls for white chocolate bakers squares. I have used white chocolate chips and Wilton white chocolate candy melts and each have worked out fine. If using the chocolate chips or Wilton candy melts, omit the 1 tbsp of butter.

Finely chop the cherries and let them drain for a few minutes in a strainer or use paper towels. Since the butter is cold it takes a bit of work to get the dough ready. You can use a pastry blender to cut the butter up into the flour. It is possible to use an electric mixer as well.

Roll the balls into 3/4 inch balls. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a glass with a flat bottom. Dip the glass in a bowl if sugar and then press the cookie until it flattens to a 1 1/2 inch round. Bake in a 325F oven for 10-12 minutes.

Once the cookies have cooled on a wire rack, dip half of the cookie in the white chocolate. Roll the dipped edge in the red sugar or glitter.

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 50
Author Steve Cylka


  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries , drained and finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter , cold
  • 12 oz white chocolate baking squares , finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 drops red food colouring
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • red sugar or glitter


  • Using a pastry blender or an electric mixer combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar and cold butter until it resembles fine crumbs.
  • Mix in the drained cherries, 4 oz (2/3 cup) chopped white chocolate, almond extract and red food colouring. Mix until it forms a dough that can be rolled into balls.
  • Shape the dough into 3/4 inch balls. Place balls, 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the bottom of a flat drinking glass, dipped in sugar, flatten the balls to 1 1/2 inch rounds.
  • Bake in a 325F oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Melt the remaining white chocolate and the 1 tbsp of butter. Dip half of each cookie in the white chocolate. Roll the dipped edge of the cookie in red sugar or glitter. Place on parchment paper or wax paper until set.


About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. YUM! These look delicious! Can’t say I have ever had a cookie with Maraschino cherries in them.

  2. These are so pretty! And I love their new name 🙂

  3. How many more years will it be until he can call the cookie, “Daddy’s beard”? 😉

  4. Delicious looking cookies. I could smell Christmas spirit just the corner

  5. Omg I love cherry cookies. I like cherry anything. Lovely recipe and pretty pics.

  6. I tried making these but it was just crumbly. It would not stay together. Any suggestions?

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