I made these for a small birthday tea party for my niece who just turned six (I guess girls of all ages love tea parties!). I love the combination of cherries and almonds, but you can use any combination you like...I think peach and pecan would also be amazing. These elegant little tarts are sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet. They’re perfect to enjoy with a cup of fruity herbal tea.
Cherry Almond Shortbread Tartlets
(Yield: 36 tartlets)
½ c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ c extra virgin coconut oil (if you don’t have this, just use unsalted butter)
½ c powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract (or you can use pure vanilla extract)
2 c all-purpose flour
2 TB cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ c sliced almonds, toasted
¾ c cherry preserves
Mini muffin baking pan
Preheat the oven to 325F. Cream together the butter and coconut oil, then cream in the powdered sugar, and mix in the almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet (the dough will be fairly thick), then stir in all but 2 TB of the almonds. (The reserved 2 TB of almonds will be sprinkled on top of the tartlets later.)
Lightly spray a mini muffin baking pan with cooking spray. Using a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon, form the dough into balls; press a ball of dough into each mini muffin tin, making sure to press the dough up the sides of the tin so that there is a well in the center of each. Bake the shortbread for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown; after 10 minutes of cooking time, poke the center of each shortbread tart with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing. Allow the shortbread to cool completely on a wire rack before removing it from the baking pan.
Once cooled, remove the shortbread tarts from the baking pan. Before serving, fill each tart with ~1 teaspoon of cherry preserves, and top with a sprinkle of the reserved almonds.