Sing with me, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..."
The time of the year I bake cookies, and reacquaint myself with the oven. Kidding. Sort of.
Our littlest Peanut is fighting her first cold, so unfortunately she and I couldn't go pick out a Christmas tree. I wanted to make sure that when the boys got back, it felt as Christmassy and festive as possible, so I baked some yummy cookies. I wanted to try a new cookie, and found a recipe for Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies. I'd never made shortbread before, and was excited at the short ingredients list - all of which I already had! They turned out very tasty, and were a rounding success with the boys!
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cups sugar (1/4 for cranberries, 1/2 cup for dough)
2 1/2 cups flour (spooned and leveled, not scooped)
1 cup unsalted butter (cubed and cold)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (the original called for almond, which would be great too, I'm sure. All I had was vanilla, and it worked really well!)
The zest of one orange
1-2 tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
Extra sugar in a a bowl for coating
1. Pulse together the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor, until it breaks up the dried cranberries.
2. Combine flour and remaining sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Use a pastry cutter (or two forks) to cut in cold butter, until you get fine crumbs.
4. Stir in extract, cranberry mixture, orange zest and juice.
5. Knead dough with your hands, until it comes together into a ball.
6. Form into a log, about 2 inches in diameter.
7. Refrigerate for 2 hours. (Or up to 72 hours.) (Or do what I did - use half now, and half later.)
8. Preheat oven to 325 F (163 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the dough log out of the fridge, and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Roll slices in the sugar in the bowl (making sure to get both sides and the edges.)
9. Place on baking sheet, about an inch apart. (They don't expand much, but I'm notorious for cookies sticking together, so I was over-cautious.)
10. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It's important not to over-bake them. I baked them for about 13 minutes.
11. Let them completely cool on the pan before handling them.
The original post says they are good for 3 days when kept in an air tight container, or for 3 months in the freezer. That makes them perfect to bake ahead for the Christmas season.
These are definitely making the final cut for cookies for neighbors and friends! Scrumptious!