Monday, December 21, 2015

Orange Cranberry Shortbread

When I make shortbread, I usually prefer to use the method of rolling the dough into logs, chilling them, and then slicing off the cookies. It's a quick and easy way to get uniform rounds.

These flavorful Orange Cranberry Shortbread cookies though called for a different method. You see, I knew the addition of lots of delicious and chewy cranberries would make the dough tough to slice through neatly. So for these, I used a 1-inch scoop and rolled the dough into balls that I gently flattened and chilled for a full hour before baking.

The size of them turned out to be a perfect fit for my macaron boxes. I was able to get six standard sized cupcake papers, each filled with three cookies, tightly packed into a single box. These are so good and the addition of orange zest makes them extra special. These are great to share with friends this holiday season.

Macaron boxes are just the right size for packaging these cookies.

Add a ribbon and tag and you've got a sweet holiday gift.

Here is the recipe:

Orange Scented Shortbread
(makes about 5 dozen)
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 teaspoons dehydrated orange peel (Note: If you can't find this, you can use 5 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest.)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1/3 cup sugar, for coating the tops of the cookies before baking

In a small container, combine the orange peel with the vanilla and let this set for about 10 minutes.

Cream together the butter, vanilla/orange mixture, sea salt and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the flour and mix just until it starts to combine and the mixture looks crumbly. Add the dried cranberries and continue mixing until the dough comes together.

With a 1-inch scoop, scoop a portion of the dough and then roll it in your hands to form a ball. Use your hands to gently flatten the ball and place it on a parchment or plastic lined baking pan that will fit into your fridge. Repeat until all the dough is used and place the cookies in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour.
These are ready to go into the fridge to chill.

When you are ready to bake them, preheat your oven to 350-degrees, dip the top of each cookie in the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and place them on baking sheets, spaced about 2-inches apart.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until the cookies just begin to brown around the edges. The cookies will firm up quite a bit as they cool. Transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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