2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped shelled, unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate
1 hr, plus chilling time
Makes:About 5 dozen cookies
Perfect for the holidays, these cheery butter cookies flecked with red and green can be made weeks ahead and stored in the freezer so that they can be baked and served in minutes. Experiment with different types of chocolate, fruit, and nuts; the dough is extremely versatile and can be made with just about any combination you like.
What to buy: You will need unsalted pistachios for this recipe. Check out NutsOnline for a huge selection of nuts and dried fruits. Nuts stored at room temperature can go rancid in a few weeks; store them in an airtight container in the freezer, where they will keep well for several months.
Game plan: The cookie dough must chill for about 2 hours in the freezer in order to be firm enough to cut. If it has been frozen for longer than a few hours, you will need to let it thaw for about 30 minutes at room temperature before slicing the cookies.
1Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes; scrape down the bowl sides and bottom.
2Add egg yolk, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Add cherries, pistachios, and chocolate and mix until they are uniformly distributed.
3Lay 2 (15-inch) pieces of plastic wrap on a clean work surface and place half the dough along the center of each piece. Shape the dough into 2 logs measuring about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 11 inches long. Roll the logs up in the plastic and secure tightly. Place in the freezer for 2 hours or up to several weeks.
4When ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350ºF and arrange a rack in the middle. Remove 1 log from the freezer and unwrap. Cut the log into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange them at least 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Return any remaining dough to the freezer in between batches.
5Bake until the cookie edges are light golden brown, about 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.