I baked this shaped shortbread cookie for the first time this year, and it will be on my Christmas trays for a long time to come! The lemony dough and chewy dried cherries are an unexpectedly yummy combination, and a squiggle of pink frosting makes them stand out on a cookie platter. Makes about 2½ dozen.

 

Dough

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 T. fresh lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups flour
¾ cup dried cherries, chopped

 

Frosting

1½ cups powdered sugar
3 T. cherry or pomegranate juice
Few drops of liquid red food coloring

To make the dough, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla, beating until blended. Gradually beat in flour, and then stir in the cherries. Wrap dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough into 30 equal sections and roll each section between your hands, into a rope about 5 inches long. Bend the tops to form candy canes and place the canes 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through, or until just starting to brown. Cool on sheets for a couple minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting, whisk the powdered sugar, juice, and food coloring in a small bowl until smooth. Fill a pastry tube with frosting, and use a plain tip to form frosting stripes or make a zig-zag design. Allow to dry/set completely before storing between sheets of waxed paper. Freezes well.

Kitchen Hint: You can also spoon the frosting into a sandwich bag and nip off a tiny corner to substitute for the pastry tube.

 

“Hubbard writes Amish stories with style and grace.” —RT Book Reviews

As the year draws to a close, the brand-new colony of Promise Lodge is thriving, a welcoming community that offers three Amish sisters a fresh start. And as Christmas approaches, gifts big and small are given with love . . .

As Promise Lodge’s first wedding arrives, the evidence of a community building a foundation for the future is a cause for celebration. But the bishop’s narrow-minded wedding sermon doesn’t sit well with the Bender sisters, the town’s courageous founders, especially widowed Mattie Schwartz. She believes marriage and family aren’t the most important of God’s gifts—even if she suspects her tender feelings for Preacher Amos Troyer run deeper than simple friendship.

Amos hasn’t given up hope that stubborn, spirited Mattie will change her mind about taking another husband, but when an accident threatens to change the course of his life forever, he wonders if the Lord has sent him a message. He’ll need faith, hope, and charity to find the right path—and a Christmas blessing to convince Mattie to walk it with him.

Praise for Charlotte Hubbard’s Seasons of the Heart series

“Another great book centered around the Sweet Seasons Café.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“These very special books will sit proudly on my keeper shelf!” —Romance Reviews Today

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