by Isabell Mahin
- 3/4 cup raw almonds, with skins
- 1-1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1-1/2 sticks (12 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup dried cherries
- 3 T Amaretto liqueur
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until slightly darkened, about 10 minutes; let cool completely. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the flour and pulse to combine.
- Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light an fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, the vanilla and almond extracts, and salt and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the dried cherries, Amaretto, and 1 T water in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds; set aside until the cherries are plump, about 20 minutes.
- Scoop out a tablespoonful of dough; press a dried cherry into the center, then shape the dough into a ball, enclosing the cherry. Repeat with the remaining dough and cherries and arrange about 1-inch apart on 2 ungreased cookie sheets. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until lightly golden on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes. Put the remaining 1 cup confectioner's sugar in a large, shallow bowl. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then carefully transfer to the bowl with sugar and gently toss. Transfer to racks to cool completely, and then toss in the sugar again.