Refrigerator cookies have long been popular because they can be made well ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator (or even freezer) until ready to be baked and served.
This recipe is just right for Valentine's day and, even if you are just making them now, a few hours in the refrigerator or freezer should chill them enough to be ready for that Valentine's day party. The dough is quite easy to work with, and you can re-shape the hearts after slicing--a little pinch here, a push there--if your first tries at molding a heart-shaped log aren't exactly the greatest. Still, these free-form hearts will let everyone you serve them know you cared enough to make something just for them.
Cherry Heart Cookies
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond
1/3 c ground almonds
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t soda
approximately 15 to 20 maraschino cherries, drained
Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg, flavorings, and ground almonds and mix until well blended. Sift the flour and soda and stir in.
Pat the dough into a rectangle on an 18 inch length of waxed paper. The dough should be about 4 to 5 inches wide and 15 to 18 inches long.
Arrange maraschino cherries down the center of the dough in a tight line so there are no gaps between the cherries.
Bring the sides of the dough up to seal in the cherries, forming a point along the top of the roll.
Using the waxed paper, gently turn the cookie roll on its side. Using a wood spoon or table knife handle, press a crease in the opposite side of the roll to form a heart shape.
Wrap the dough with the waxed paper and chill until very firm, several hours or over night.
Cut the dough into thin slices and place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 350 for 11 minutes, until just set and beginning to brown. Leave on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving on to a cooling rack. Makes about 4 to 4 1/2 dozen.
And the frugal hint for the day:
One more thing--you weren't going to toss the drained maraschino cherry juice, were you? Of course not. You could put it back in the jar for later, but it also is a great addition to your next glass of orange juice or lemonade.
Or make a healthy dessert to go with all the over the top sweets on Valentine's day: peel an orange or two and section. Cut the sections in half and put in a bowl along with the maraschino cherry juice, and perhaps a couple of diced cherries as well. Chill for an hour or so to blend the flavors.