I chose these cookies because I love anything with pecans, cream cheese and almond extract. For the crushed pecans, I used pecan pieces from Heggy’s Nut Shop. I rolled the balls of dough in them, pressing on the pieces to make sure they stayed in place.
When baking, start checking the bottom of the cookies at 7 minutes for brownness. The sides of the cookies do not brown until the bottoms are burned; I discovered this the hard way. Overall, I was very pleased with the texture of the cookies and the subtle flavor, and the cherry adds a visual punch.
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
36 maraschino cherries, halved
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift flour, soda and salt into a medium bowl, whisk briefly to make sure the salt and soda are distributed; set aside.
3. Cream butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Add egg; beat well. Stir in almond extract.
5. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in 3 additions, mixing well after each. Form into a rough ball shape, cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
6. Shape dough into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, roll in pecans, pressing to make sure pecans adhere. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookies sheets. Gently press cherry half in center of each cookie while slightly flattening the top. If you aren’t going to use cherries, gently flatten the top of each ball with two fingers.
7. Bake 7 to 10 minutes. You don’t want to overbake them, so make sure to watch as you get closer to 7 minutes. They are done when the edges just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes 48 cookies