12 December, 2018
Cranberry and Orange Shortbread Cookies
For my choir’s winter concert, we had to bring baked goods for our audience to enjoy during intermission and after the concert. Each of us was tasked with bringing a dozen cookies. For those who didn’t have time to make something to bring and didn’t want to just go out and buy something from the store, another baker in the chorus and I offered to make their share of goodies. Next week, I’ll share a skeleton recipe for cake cookies, which are lifesavers when it comes to baking lots of different cookies on a budget. This week, though, we’ve got shortbreads.
I had an orange left over from when I made cranberry sauce a little while ago, and, as much as I love orange, I am not a fan of peeling and eating them (I’m more of a clementine person). Baking with them, though, I can do. Cranberries, orange, and cloves make up one of my favorite flavor profiles. It’s the embodiment of the holidays for me, so to have it in a cookie — a tender shortbread no less — is just perfection. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels that way. At the concert, these cookies disappeared in the blink of an eye, and the few other singers who got to try them begged me to make them again and bring them to rehearsal sometime. It’s a crowd-approved recipe!
Heaping 1/2 cup Dried cranberries
3/4 cups Sugar, plus some extra
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Salted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 tsp Almond extract
1 Orange, zested
1/2 tsp Ground clove
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
In a food processor, chop up the cranberries and about a tablespoon of the sugar (to keep them from clumping) into little pieces, about 1/4 inch in size. In a large bowl, combine the flour and the rest of your sugar before adding in the cubed butter. With clean, dry hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms an even crumb. Once your butter is combined, add the almond extract, orange zest, clove, nutmeg, and cranberries. Work the dough until it just comes together before rolling it into a log about two inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set on a plate in the fridge for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and bring out the dough. Line two baking sheets and sprinkle some sugar (coarse, if you have it) on a plate. Cut the log into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Dip the top sides of the cookies in the sugar and place them sugared side up on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’re just set (you don’t want to overbake them, or they’ll get hard). Cool the cookies on the baking sheet before moving them to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!