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Mahlab Cherry Almond Balls

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Mahlab, a spice derived from the pit of the Mediterranean St. Lucie cherry, tastes strongly of cherry and bitter almond, with more elusive floral and vanilla notes. In our search for a cookie that would do justice to this unique flavor, we were thrilled to find these phenomenal cherry almond balls. They’re a perfect vehicle for this striking spice.

Using ground almonds instead of almond flour is key to these addictive cookies, which were a feature of the holidays during our childhood. The original recipe used candied cherries for the center, but we opted for re-hydrated dried cherries instead this time. The change gives the cookies a fresher, slightly less sweet flavor. Try them out, but be warned: They may become a permanent addition to your holiday baking.

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