Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vanilla Cherry Shortbread Hearts

For some reason, the flavor of cherry is associated with Valentine's day in my mind.  I think it dates back to the days when I was in gradeschool, when we would pass around those cute little valentines, with the cherry heart suckers attatched.  I would secretly hope that my little crush would give me a special valentine even though boys were supposed to be icky...I laugh at it all now, but it was a good time!  Those suckers were super sweet, and I am sure they did not include a hint of real cherry, but they were appealing as a 8 year old!  Now that I am an adult, I still have the memory of the cherry flavor and Valentine's day, but I have to say I am not a fan of artificially flavored suckers now.  Real cherries however, I enjoy! 

So when deciding what I wanted to flavor my shortbread hearts I was making with (besides just plain vanilla), cherries seemed perfect!  So I chopped up some dried cherries and added them to my dough!  It was a wonderful idea, they provided sweet tart little pops of flavor to the cookies!  Feeling a little festive and girly I added pink sugar to my cookies before baking them, as well as tinted the dough pink with some beet based food coloring. 

It made me happy to look at the cute little cookie hearts, and I know I would have loved these when I was 8, being that all things sparkly, pink and sweet were cool in my book!  If you would like some cute little cookies to make you feel happy, here is the recipe! 

Vanilla Cherry Shortbread Hearts
Makes 40

2 sticks Earth Balance vegan butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
seeds of one vanilla bean
6 tsp beet based red food coloring
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple sugar, or granulated sugar
1 cup dried cherries, chopped

pink sugar, or turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack set in the center. Mix all shortbread ingredients together (except pink sugar) in a large bowl until well blended, then between 2 sheets of parchment paper roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out hearts, then sprinkle with pink sugar and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer and bake for about 10-12 minutes until set and lightly brown. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. These look so yummy! I, too, associate Valentine's with cherries - mostly because my grandmother used to buy me cherry cordials (barf!) You amaze me with your vegan baking, have I told you that?

  2. Thanks Amy :)! Cherry cordials are yuck haha...I remember my grandma used to have those at Christmas.

  3. Yum! I love cherry and vanilla flavors together and I bet the maple sugar worked super well with these shortbread cookies too!

  4. How lovely treat made with love.. :) I especially like those cherries and how cute shortbread hearts look like :)

  5. Beautiful cookies! The addition of cherries and the lovely large sugar crystals make a stunning treat!

  6. Oh yum. I love the combination of vanilla and cherry anywhere it pops up. Who can resist shortbread either? Perfect with a cup of tea.

  7. So so the little pink sprinkles..Awesome photos!!!

  8. Adorable! I love the pink sugar on top...the perfect topper.

  9. So cute and I love the pink sugar sprinkled on top!