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Almond-Cherry Shortbread "Stacks"

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Active Time:  46 Minutes

  Makes 6
For Shortbread:
1 1/4 cups slivered almonds (about 3 1/2 ounces), toasted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dried Bing cherries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
For Compote and Sandwiches:
1 pound fresh dark cherries (such as Bing), halved, pitted
1 1/2 cups unsweetened black cherry juice
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

Additional fresh dark cherries, optional
FOR SHORTBREAD: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend almonds, flour and sugar in food processor until almonds are finely ground. Add butter, dried cherries, vanilla and salt. Pulse until dough begins to clump together. Pat dough into 12-inch-diameter pizza pan. Bake until shortbread is just golden on top, about 15 minutes. Remove shortbread from pan, cut into 12 wedges. Transfer shortbread wedges to cooling rack; cool completely.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Shortbread wedges can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

FOR COMPOTE: Combine cherries, juice and 1/3 cup sugar in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring mixture to boil. Simmer over medium heat 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer 3/4 cup cherries to small bowl. Continue cooking compote until juices thicken, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer compote to large bowl to cool; discard vanilla bean. Coarsely chop reserved cherries; set aside.

FOR SANDWICHES: Beat cream cheese with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Fold in reserved chopped cherries. Spread 1/4 cup cream cheese mixture over bottom of 1 shortbread wedge. Top with another shortbread wedge; press gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining shortbread and cream cheese mixture. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Sandwiches can be made up to 2 hours ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Place 1 sandwich on each plate. Spoon compote alongside. Garnish with fresh cherries, if desired, and serve.

Recipe created exclusively for by Lane Crowther.

Recipe reprinted by permission of . All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
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