White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Time: 1 hour
Yield: 40 cookies
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries
2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 C cold butter
1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
1 1/2 t almond extract
2 T maraschino cherry juice
dash salt
White nonpareils and/or red edible sprinkles
1/2 t shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)

1. Pour 2 tablespoons of the cherry juice into a small bowl and set it aside. Drain the the rest of the juice out into your sink. (Or I guess you could drink it...if you are a cherry lovin' fool. I won't tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me.)
2. Chop your cherries into small pieces. 
3. Pour the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl and toss it together to combine.
4. Cut your cold butter into cubes and place it into the bowl. 
5. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
6. Add your chopped cherries and 2/3 C of white chocolate chips. 
7. Pour in the almond extract, dash of salt and the beautiful red cherry juice. 
8. Stick your hands right into the bowl and use them to combine all of the ingredients together well.  Smash it up, knead it together...work your magic.
9. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 inch each. Set them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 
10. Dip the bottom of a small mug or drinking glass into some sugar. 
11. Press the bottom of your mug into each cookie, pressing it out flat. 
12. Bake your cookies at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the center of the cookies are set. Allow them to cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely. 
13. Pour the white nonpareils and red sprinkle into two separate small bowls. 
14. Pour the rest of the white chocolate into a small bowl. Heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Return it to the microwave and heat for another 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until the white chocolate is melted and smooth.
15. Add the 1/2 t shortening and allow it to sit in the white chocolate for a couple of minutes. Stir it in and you are ready to dip your cookies. 
16. Dip half of each cookie into the white chocolate. 
17. Allow the cookie to hang over the top of the dipping bowl and drip to remove excess chocolate. 
18. Immediately dip the chocolate side of the cookie into the red sprinkles or white nonpareils. 
19. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden. Should take about 20 minutes.