Maraschino cherries proudly sit upon swirls of buttery piped dough in this cookie, the likes of which are found all over Ireland. They might be homemade like they were in my house (and as is my preference, of course) or store-bought, but either way, they feature a wonderful crumbly texture that goes really well with the chewy cherries. It's not uncommon to sandwich two cookies with jam--or even better, try sandwiching them with my Best-Ever Buttercream Frosting if you want to get really indulgent. Cookies this pretty are nice to give as a gift--arrange them in a decorative cookie tin and finish it off with a colorful ribbon.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla with a wooden spoon until fluffy and pale in color.
Add the flour and stir until well combined.
Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
Pipe the dough into 12 to 14 flat whirls on your prepared cookie sheet. Put a cherry half on each one.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until pale gold. Leave to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Store the biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a zip-top plastic bag instead. Transfer the dough to the bag and cut the tip off one corner for piping. Just make sure the plastic is strong, or the bag might burst while you're piping the cookies.