Christmas Cherry Cookie Bars

This cookie is Christmas to me. I grew up with my mom baking it every year for Christmas. I made a few changes with her permission of course and added it to my cookbook, 101 Gourmet Cookies for Everyone. (p. 59) I took out 1/2 the sugar, added more flavoring, and made it a cookie bar- which saves time. I’ve been taking samples of this cookie to my Christmas signings this year…. it’s been a huge hit! 🙂
Christmas Cherry Cookie Bars (from 101 Gourmet Cookies for Everyone)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 jar Maraschino cherries, cut in half & stems removed
1 tablespoon milk
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract, divided
2 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the butter, sugar and eggs. Add 1 teaspoon of the almond extract.
Slowly beat in the flour and salt. Spread batter over a greased cookie sheet or smaller jelly roll pan. Sprinkle batter with cherries. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden, but soft. Remove from the oven and cool. Mix together milk, ½ teaspoon almond extract and powdered sugar. Whisk together until there are no more lumps, and drizzle over cooled cookie bars. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares and serve. This recipe freezes well without the glaze.

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