Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Break the almond paste into small pieces and place in a food processor or mixer.
Add the sugar and mix well. Add the egg whites, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and maraschino cherry liquid; process or mix for 2 minutes or until the batter is moist and smooth. The batter will be sticky.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or cookie press fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the batter into 24 stars, about 1-1/2-inches in diameter on the baking sheets, approximately1-inch apart. To make it even easier, you can simply drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared sheets.
Dry the maraschino cherries well and cut them in half. Top each cookie with half a cherry.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies for 25–30 minutes. Place the parchment paper or baking mats on a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely before peeling off the paper.
Photos and recipes courtesy of the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation.