Chopped red and green candied cherries add a pop of festive colour and delicious flavour to these Walnut Cherry Slices. Prepare a month in advance and freeze the dough. When ready to bake, simply cut the dough into slices and bake until light and fluffy. These cookies are perfect for a cookie exchange or for gifting to a neighbour!
Walnut Cherry Slices are one of those cookies you can make long in advance. They are rolled into a log, well wrapped, and can be refrigerated or frozen until you feel like baking. They are packed with toasted walnuts and chopped candied cherries too!
I tend to use a lot of walnuts at Christmastime – partly because we love them, but also, walnuts add so much flavour and texture to cakes and cookies. Here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, you can find a plethora of holiday recipes that feature walnuts. Try these Walnut Shortbread Balls. They are dipped in melted chocolate and topped with crushed walnuts. One of my favourite holiday treats of all time, are my mom’s Walnut Oh Henry Bars. They are loaded with walnuts!
There are over 100 Christmas recipes to be found here, but none as popular or loved as my Apricot and Walnut Fruitcake. I first shared that recipe in December of 2017. It was an immediate hit! Here we are a few years later and it’s still the most popular Christmas recipe. Even if you don’t like fruit cake, you should go take a look at it. It’s very unlike a traditional fruitcake, so it just might change your mind!
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ISN’T IT JUST SHORTBREAD?
There are a million different shortbread recipes out there if you’re willing to spend the time looking for all of them. Personally, I used to think that shortbread was shortbread, but little did I know years ago that there are many variations and flavours of shortbread. These Walnut Cherry Slices are slightly sweet, a little nutty, and a little chewy too. But, I have many other shortbread recipes for you to discover as well.
The most common shortbreads are rolled and cut with cookie cutters and then decorated with royal icing. I’m not good with decorating cookies and cakes, so I take a simpler route. For instance, Stamped Shortbread Cookies are beautiful and no decorating skills are needed at all! Then there’s my Whipped Shortbread recipe. You don’t need to roll those at all. In fact, they’re so good that they are one of my most popular Christmas recipes.
Of course, we can’t forget about flavoured shortbreads too. I love these Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies and I can’t get enough of these Chocolate Drizzled Espresso Shortbread. Did you know there’s also shortbread recipes that allow you to stuff them with candied fruits and cherries? Oh, yes, Dear Reader! I have just the recipe to prove it right here! Now, finally, I’m showing you a different type. And, to be honest, in terms of ease, I think these just might be my favourite type to prepare!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THESE COOKIES:
- Butter – I’m using salted butter. You can use unsalted butter too. There won’t be much of a difference to the taste in the end.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This superfine sugar is sometimes called powdered sugar. It is used in frostings quite often. In this recipe, it adds the sweetness, because we are not using regular granulated sugar here.
- Egg – One large egg is all you need. Whenever you set out to bake, make sure your eggs are at room temperature too – just like your butter!
- Vanilla Extract – Probably the most common extract and the most common flavouring used in cakes and cookies.
- Flour – I always use all-purpose flour, unless otherwise stated. I have not tested this recipe with other flour alternatives.
- Walnuts – Walnuts have a mild, buttery flavour which is why they are perfect in cookies and cakes. When they are baked, they soften slightly, which makes them easier to slice through too, so they won’t ruin those perfect slices of cake!
- Candied Cherries – These are very popular in Christmas baking, especially in fruitcakes. I buy the whole red and green candied cherries separately so that I can pick which colour I want to use. If you buy them whole, you can chop them if you prefer smaller bits of cherry.
In this particular recipe, I use two cups of candied cherries in total. I opted to use half red and half green cherries. Obviously, you can use all red or all green if you choose. I love candied cherries and I love how the red and green colours just jump out and create a wonderful contrast to the butter-coloured cookie. They’re perfect for Christmas!
When I’m looking to use candied cherries, Paradise Fruit Company is my go-to source. They have the brightest, most plump, most perfectly round red and green cherries. You can get all of their products online. Be sure to check out the website!
Just for a bit of trivia, let me just add this in here. Candied cherries are basically maraschino cherries that have been processed in a thick, sugary syrup. They become intensely sweet and take on a chewy texture, which works very well in baked goods.
The first thing you should do is toast your walnuts. How do you do that? It’s very simple! To be perfectly honest, this applies to any nuts or seeds, not just the walnuts for this recipe. If you are not familiar with toasted nuts, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to using nuts in your cooking or baking again without toasting them first!
I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you buy the same cookware set, but I wanted you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results will plain stainless steel.
Looking For More Christmas Confections?
Lord Byron’s Kitchen has more than enough to satisfy your sweet tooth! Click on the links below to see a countdown series of holiday recipes from that category!
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting nuts. Add the walnuts to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the nuts moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The nuts will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
HOW TO MAKE WALNUT CHERRY SLICES:
I love to make these cookies, not only because they are easy, but they’re also fun to make. Why is it that rolling cookie dough into a log is so satisfying? I think it stems from a love of playing with food when I was a kid! And, as you know, I love to use candied cherries, so that’s always a bonus. Making these could not be easier. Let me tell you how to do it!
In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and confectioner’s sugar. Beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Next, add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to incorporate. Next, add the flour and beat until combined with the wet ingredients. Finally, add the chopped candied cherries and the toasted walnuts. Use a wooden spoon to stir these through the cookie dough.
Lord Byron’s Annual Christmas Cookie Series
Did you know that Lord Byron’s Kitchen has been sharing a 24 Cookies of Christmas Series for the past several years? Click on the links below to see all of the recipes from each series on one page!
Finally, turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Form the dough into a long log, about 18 inches in length. Roll the log in the parchment paper and then into plastic wrap. If you plan to bake the cookies the same day, refrigerate for one hour. Otherwise, you can refrigerate the cookie dough for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Next, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner or with parchment paper and set it aside.
Remove the plastic wrap and parchment paper from the cookie log. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/4 inch slices. Lay the slices onto the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom edge of the cookies have browned. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove and transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
STORING, PACKAGING, & FREEZING
When it comes to most cookies, they taste best at room temperature, but they don’t hold up well to being left out on your countertop for long periods of time. Cookies will stay fresh in a cookie jar or food-safe container with a lid for 3-5 days if left to sit on your kitchen countertop. You can store them in a food-safe container in your fridge. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place them in a single layer on a plate. Let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and they’re ready!
If you plan to freeze your Walnut Cherry Slices, you certainly can! Once they are completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. I use these quite often when freezing baked goods. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give previously frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out onto a wire cooling rack to thaw completely. Once thawed, pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
If I have not answered all of your questions in the text above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can contact me by sending me a message in the comments section further down the page. I will try my best to answer as soon as possible! You might reach me even faster by following me on Facebook and sending me a private message. Scroll down to follow me and never miss another recipe!
Finally, as I stated previously, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
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Walnut Cherry Slices
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 2 cups chopped candied cherries
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and confectioner’s sugar. Beat for 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Next, add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat to incorporate.
- Next, add the flour and beat until combined with the wet ingredients.
- Finally, add the chopped candied cherries and the toasted walnuts. Use a wooden spoon to stir these through the cookie dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Form the dough into a long log, about 18 inches in length. Roll the log in the parchment paper and then into plastic wrap.
- If you plan to bake the cookies the same day, refrigerate for one hour. Otherwise, you can refrigerate the cookie dough for 3-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. (If frozen, remove dough from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and continue with the following steps.)
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Next, prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner or with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Remove the plastic wrap and parchment paper from the cookie log. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1/4 inch slices.
- Lay the slices onto the prepared baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottom edge of the cookies have browned.
- Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove and transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
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