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Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Updated on January 9, 2018
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green enjoys whipping up tasty dishes in her home kitchen. She's received many requests for her recipes and is happy to share these.

Ho, Ho, Ho... It's That Merry Time of Year

Sink-your-teeth-into melting cherry shortbread cookies on a yuletide platter.
Sink-your-teeth-into melting cherry shortbread cookies on a yuletide platter. | Source

Melting Shortbread Cookies Perfect for Christmas Entertaining

There's nothing as nice as shortbread when bells are ringing, people are singing, our hearts are filled with Xmas cheer and our homes are filled with people both from far and near. When homes reflect the colors of the Season, at this special time of year, many cooks like to incorporate traditional colors into baked goods, as well. For sweet treats, this is ideal.

These melt-in-your mouth cherry shortbread cookies make for a perfect treat around Christmastime, with brightly-colored halved cherries decorating them and reflecting the colors of the Season.

Now shortbread comes in many incarnations, some is more like a bread, some is more dense, some is flavored, some is loaded with nuts or dipped in chocolate, and some is rather exotic, such as lavender shortbread, and some shortbread is of the melting variety, having a light-as-a cloud texture that is unbeatable and a delight to bite into, such as the melting cherry shortbread cookies seen in this article.

Unlike the standard recipes for shortbread, the addition of corn starch gives these cookies their unique light texture. They are then topped with both red or green cherries resulting in a truly special cookie.

With just four main ingredients + the cherries, these cookies are easy to make. Make more than one batch because you'll be hard-pressed to keep a supply of these on hand.

Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Thick, buttery... such a rich cookie to bite into.
Thick, buttery... such a rich cookie to bite into. | Source


For ease of mixing and best results, make sure your butter is room temperature before you begin.


  • 1 pound (2 cups) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup corn starch, sifted
  • 3 cups flour, sifted
  • glazed cherries, red or green (or both)

Sift... Sift... Sift...

Sift your dry ingredients for the best results.

How to Make & Bake These Cookies

  1. Cream room-temperature butter with a wooden spoon, whipping lightly.
  2. Add icing sugar gradually and cream until fluffy.
  3. Add cornstarch and continue stirring mixture.
  4. Add flour, then continue to work with hands, gently kneading and folding over until mixture forms into a large ball of dough.
  5. Roll into smaller balls (approx. 1" around) and place on a large ungreased baking sheet.
  6. Indent with a finger to create a round hollow.
  7. Chill 1/2-1 hour so cookies hold shape while baking.
  8. While cookies are chilling, slice red and green cherries in halves and right before baking, place a halved cherry in each impression.
  9. Bake cherry shortbread at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Reduce heat to 250 degrees toward end of cooking time.
  10. Check one cookie, making sure that cookies are cooked in the middle. If necessary, continue baking until done.
  11. Lift cookies onto a flat surface to cool.

Note on Texture

Using a wooden spoon will result a slightly firmer dough, good for rolling into rounds as seen on this page.

If using beaters, these cookies will be more like a whipped shortbread with a softer texture, better suited to piping into light-as-a-cloud cookies that can still be decorated with cherries.

Whipped Shortbread

When prepared using beaters, a whipped cookie results.
When prepared using beaters, a whipped cookie results. | Source

Remember, How You Mix Them Will Determine How These Cookies Turn Out

  • When mixed with a wooden spoon and kneaded with hands, a denser cookie results, which is ideal if you wish to roll your cookies into balls and top with cherries.
  • These cookies can be prepared with beaters for a whipped cookie and spooned or piped onto a pan, as seen in the video below.

Either method produces fabulous Xmas shortbread cookies.

Family Fun

If you have young ones who are eager to be part of the festivities, once your cookie dough is prepared and your cherries halved, why not ask them to add the cherries to the unbaked cookies?

Green and Red Cherries Add a Festive Touch

Red and green cherries decorate Xmas shortbread in festive colors.
Red and green cherries decorate Xmas shortbread in festive colors. | Source

Baking Tip

To prevent over-browning, double-pan or place a second pan on bottom oven rack.

Now, Take One of Each!

Xmas shortbread.
Xmas shortbread. | Source

Did You Know?

Cornstarch is the magic ingredients that gives shortbread such a light texture.

Do you Like Melting Cherry Shortbread?

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A Perfect Christmas Shortbread

These cookies are easy to make, so tasty, and so very festive that Santa and Mrs. Claus and the reindeer and elves would approve.

5 stars from 1 rating of Cherry Shortbread

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© 2011 Athlyn Green


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    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 2 years ago from West Kootenays

      The texture in these is incredible.

    • Tuatha profile image

      Kari Shinal 4 years ago from AZ

      I definitely need to try this recipe this holiday season. So Simple! Thank You!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      These cherry shortbread cookies sound great. Voted up and useful and will pin.