Allison's Honeyed Almond-Cherry Shortbread
ALLISON'S HONEYED ALMOND-CHERRY SHORTBREAD
For the Cookie Dough:
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
For the Honeyed Almonds:
1/2 cup honey (I used our own...makes it a little special)
1 ounce (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
2 cups lightly toasted sliced almonds (my second batch I tried chopped almonds and it turned out just as well)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Macerated Cherries:
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
2 tbsp dry sherry (or marsala or Grand Marnier)
1 tbsp finely grated tangerine or orange zest
Prepare the macerated cherries: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and toss to combine. Let stand for an hour, stirring occasionally.
Make the honeyed almonds: Cook honey and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and deep amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let cool, about 30 minutes, then coarsely chop. (I could eat the nuts just like this and be oh, so happy...forget the cookie dough...)
Make the dough: Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the macerated cherries, and mix until just combined. Add the flour and salt, and mix until dough just comes together, about 1 minute. Add the honeyed almonds, and mix until just combined.
Turn out dough onto a piece of parchment, and form into 2 1/2-by-16-inch rectangular log; wrap in parchment. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days (dough can be frozen for 3 months). Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices, and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake until cookies are golden and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets.