Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
2¼ cups flour
¾ cup finely chopped almonds
½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
For chocolate coating
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
Sliced almonds for decoration
To prepare cookies:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add almond extract and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour and mix until just incorporated. Stir in almonds and dried cranberries. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until cookies are set but not browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare chocolate coating:
In a double boiler over gently simmering water (or in a microwave oven), melt chocolate chips and shortening, and whisk until combined. Dip cookies in chocolate, decorate with an almond slice and transfer to wax paper until chocolate sets.
2006 Finalist: Hannah Park and Anne Park of St. Paul, Minnesota