I like to bake cookies around the holidays. Call me cliche, but there is something about a homemade cookie and a big, fat mug of something hot that just feels right.
Every year, I usually make lemon crisps and chocolate chip biscotti, along with something from the gingerbread family. Everyone has their own special, token recipe that reminds them of the holidays and at Food Blogga, Susan is hosting the second annual Eat Christmas Cookies event where bloggers can share their favorite holiday cookie recipes.
This recipe is adapted from Rachael Ray. I have mostly positive feelings towards Rachael Ray but I don't always love her recipes. Some of them are too complicated, with length ingredient lists and unusual-but-not-always-appetizing combinations of flavors.
The first thing that appealed to me was the fact that the only ingredients needed were flour, sugar, salt, butter and dried cherries. Since I didn't have dried cherries I substituted dried cranberries.
(the sugar was camera-shy)
Since I don't have a food processor I combined all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse into the ingredients were blended enough to turn onto the counter.
Once the dough was soft enough, I rolled it into a square so that I could cut individual pieces for baking.
The cookies, which turned out thin and crispy but soft and crumbly on the inside - the perfect texture for shortbread - baked at 300F for about forty-five minutes, even though the recipe only suggest an hour.
After cooling, sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar if desired. I found these to be a nice change from plain shortbread, despite a little initial hesitation about adding fruit to a tried-and-true classic. It certainly worked and these would be a nice, elegant addition to a holiday cookie tray.
Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, sliced and chilled
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
1. Position a rack in th ecenter of the oven and preheat to 300F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a food processor, mix the flour, butter, sugar and salt for 20 seconds. Add the cherries and pulse until chopped, 20 seconds more.
2. Turn out the mixture onto a work surface and gather the mixture into a smooth compact ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7 x 9 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 12 rectangles. Prick each cookie several times with a fork.
3. Using a metal spatula, place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet and refridgerate for 20 minutes. Bake until light golden-brown, 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with sugar.
Yield - 1 dozen cookies. What are your favorite holiday cookies?