Cranberry Cat Kisses 48.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Holiday Cookies 2018 Nov 29, 2018

To make what they considered to be a really good holiday cookie, a mother-daughter home-baking team from St. Paul, Minn., combined "good ideas" and tastes from other recipes. The result is these festive cookie balls, topped with a couple of almonds (reminiscent of the ears of their family cat). We added the occasional and optional fresh cranberries for more holiday spirit.

Need more inspiration? Check out our Holiday Cookie Generator, featuring more than 300 recipes to suit any taste.

Make Ahead: The decorated cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

48 cookies

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Tested size: 48 cookies

  • For the cookies
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped almonds (skin-on is fine)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • For the topping
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • Skin-on, sliced almonds
  • Fresh cranberries (optional)


For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute, or until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar; beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is lightened and fluffy, then add the almond extract and beat until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour and beat just until it is incorporated, to form a firm dough.

By hand, stir in the almonds and dried cranberries.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, placing them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) for 7 to 8 minutes, until barely browned. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat to use all the dough.

For the topping: Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on LOW in 20-second increments until melted, stirring in between until smooth.

Spoon some of the melted mixture on top of each cooled cookie. Quickly insert a couple of sliced almonds and/or a cranberry atop each one. Let set completely before serving or storing.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Great Minnesota Cookie Book," by Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson (University of Minnesota Press, 2018).

Tested by Monica Norton.

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