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Chocolate Cherry Almond Christmas Cookies

In this post I am sharing an easy holiday baking recipe for Chocolate Cherry Almond Christmas Cookies.

These dainty little shortbread cookies are elegant and impressive but so easy to make. 

Variations of shortbread cookies are among my personal top favorites for holiday baking. The reason that I love shortbread so much is it holds its shape well, doesn’t spread all over the place and is easy to decorate however you like.

This particular recipes is my twist on classic Southern cherry crowns. I love the flavor of the chocolate in this cookie. The candied cherries add a beautiful finish and are as shiny red as Rudolph the red nose reindeer’s nose. 

Easy Holiday Cookies Recipe

Christmas cookies recipes with pictures - elegant and impressing holiday recipe

How many cookies will Santa eat? There is no way to be sure so it’s best to bake plenty and have a plate full waiting for him. 

What are candied (or glace) cherries? This candied cherry fruit are the type of fruit you’d traditionally find in a fruit cake. You’ll find them in the holiday baking section at your local grocery store. 

Chocolate Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Best ever Christmas Cookies - easy recipe

Can we talk about ground almonds for a minute? I couldn’t find any at my grocery store. No worries, I thought, I’ll just toss some into a coffee bean grinder.

Well, I soon discovered that the coffee bean grinder was not in our house. In fact, we had mistakenly left it behind this summer at my sister in law’s camper. 

Although it’s just a half hour from our house, I was in no mood to go on a road trip to fetch it and decided I would just chop the almonds up myself.

Have you ever had to finely chop almonds? It’s a bit of a task. You have to chop them as fine as you can and keep on chopping over and over and over again to get them where you want them.

After the almonds came the part where all of the candied cherries needed to be cut in half. 

It was worth the extra bit of effort because it is for Christmas cookies after all and they’re supposed to be special. I think they turned out beautiful too. 

Elegant Cookies

chocolate cookies on a sheet pan - easy Chocolate Cherry Almond Christmas Cookies recipe

Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookie Recipe

You’ll find the step by step instructions in the printable recipe card below. Check out the note section where I’ve shared a couple of variations for this easy recipe. Let’s bake a batch of Chocolate Cherry Almond Christmas Cookies.

Yield: 6 Dozen Cookies

Chocolate Cherry Almond Christmas Cookies

Beautiful Christmas Cookies Recipe - Chocolate Cherry Almond Crown Cookies

Easy chocolate shortbread thumbprint cookies with candied cherries and almond topping.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 2 Sticks of Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, separated
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c Ground Blanched Almonds
  • 4 oz Red Candied Cherries, halved


  1. In a mixing bowl; beat butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy.
  2. Gradually add the sugar to the butter mixture, beating well to combine; add the egg yolk and vanilla extract then mix to combine.
  3. Next add the flour and cocoa powder in batches mixing to combine between each addition; cover the dough and chill for one hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C)
  5. Shape the dough into 1.5 inch balls; dip tops of the balls into lightly beaten egg white then in ground almonds to coat.
  6. Place cookie dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently make an indentation in the middle of each cookie with your thumb and place a cherry half in the center.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.


  • To make old fashioned Southern Cherry Crown Cookies, omit the cocoa powder and add another ½ cup of flour to the recipe. Use almond extract instead of vanilla and follow the rest of the recipe as is.
  • Use your favorite nut ground in place of almonds if preferred.
  • Instead of cherry, a whole pecan may be used to top each cookie or omit the nut entirely and gently press the cookies down with two fingers and decorate with sprinkles.
  • Thumbprints may also be made and topped with a dollop of jam.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

3 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 106mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g
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Thank you for stopping by! I know that you’re gonna love how easy it is to make this pretty little cookies to share with friends.

Meet Julia

Author of Julia's Simply Southern

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Carol F

Sunday 28th of November 2021

These look so good! What size cookie scoop would you use to make the 1.5” balls of dough? Thank you

Julia Jordan

Monday 29th of November 2021

Hi Carol! Thank you. I usually keep a 1" smaller scoop and a medium 2" or so. I'll use the smaller 1 inch scoop and just over fill it then roll the dough lightly in my hands before placing on my baking sheet. Enjoy the cookies! ~Julia


Friday 20th of December 2019

What beautiful cookies! We love chocolate and cherries together and these look extra festive!

Julia Jordan

Friday 20th of December 2019

Carlee, Thank you! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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