Merry Christmas Eve “Eve”!!! Personally, I think the anticipation of Christmas is better than the actual day (only because it’s over in a flash!). I started decorating in November to enjoy the lights and Christmas spirit for an entire month. Christmas cookies are flooding my news feeds and the green eyed monster prompted a swift trip to the store for all the “fixin’s” for Cranberry and Orange Shortbread. Nope, Santa will not be able to turn up his nose at a plateful of these cookies.
What is it about dried cranberries that makes me think of Christmastime?
I’ll be completely honest…these aren’t healthy by any means. But – it’s Christmas! Treat yourself! I chose to make 1/3 of this batch and freeze the rest of the dough for another time – all things in moderation!
Below, you’ll see a photograph of unbaked shortbread waiting to fulfill their Christmas destiny…
Everyone knows I’m more of a baker than anything else – but one trial of coming home for the holidays is leaving all my baking tools behind (does anyone know if they make luggage for people who like to travel with all their kitchen equipment?).
I set out to make these cookies imagining snowflake and Christmas Tree shaped shortbread only to roll out the dough and realize my deluxe pack of Christmas cookie cutters were keeping a shelf in my apartment warm 2 hours away. Darn it! If you ever find yourself in this predicament, don’t use a knife to cut the shortbread (it’s too buttery) – use the rim of a glass as a cookie cutter (preferably one with a steel, sharp edge). Remember to flour your work surface, it’ll save you some heartache!!
- 1 cup good quality butter, room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar (don't use granulated!) + more to garnish
- 2 cups all purpose flour + more for rolling
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup dried, sweetened cranberries
- zest from 1 medium orange
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour and salt
- In a mixer, or by hand, cream butter and sugar until completely combined
- Add vanilla and orange zest and mix thoroughly
- Using a rubber spatula, add flour mixture gradually. Mix until just combined (do not over mix)
- Add cranberries and mix to disperse
- Divide dough into 4 equal parts and flatten into disks and wrap in saran wrap (cling wrap) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (1 hour if you have time to spare)
- Roll out dough to ¼ inch thickness on a well floured surface and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter
- Place on parchment paper lined baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown
- Let shortbread cool completely before serving (it'll be a little soft coming out of the oven, but they will harden once you take them out)
- If you're not using all the dough, freeze a portion for use at a later time