Sunday, December 23, 2012

Simple Cranberry Orange Christmas Cookies

Here is a recipe that we are using for the second year, so it's worth sharing. The original recipe was in Midwest Living. We used orange essential oil, decreased the sugar (though the original amount is given below), and used whole wheat flour.

I've cut back on making Christmas cookies in the last few years. Even though it was a fun (and delicious) activity to do with the children, I was feeling like we were eating a lot of sugar- and sugar on top of sugar (i.e. frosted sugar cookies- a favorite)! Of course, we share cookies with neighbors; we also put some in the freezer and then have cookies to munch on ourselves (though usually we keep sweet treats to Friday nights). These cookies are good because they are like short bread- buttery and yummy and not too sweet. The cranberries, orange and pecan are great additions.

We made these right after we made homemade marshmallows. It worked out perfectly because we had 2 eggs yolks left over from the marshmallows that we used when we doubled this recipe- no waste and no eggs to store!

Holiday Cranberry Orange Slices

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 1/4 cups of flour (preferable to use freshly milled)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons orange peel, and/or 4 drops orange essential oil (we used doTerra)

1. Beat butter in the bowl of electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt; beat until combined, scraping the bowl as necessary. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla (and orange oil, if using) until combined.

2. Gradually add flour, until a stiff dough forms. Add cranberries, pecans, and orange peel (if using).

3. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a 9 inch long roll. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill for 3 hours or overnight (until firm enough to slice).

4. Cut chilled dough into 1/4 inch slices with a serrated knife. Place slices an inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet (they will not spread much). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, until edges are slightly brown and firm. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. (Makes about 50 cookies)

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