Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender,
cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in
drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate.
Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture
until it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an
ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass
dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are
set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire
rack and let cool.
In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate
and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip
half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If
desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place
cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60.