Monday, December 3, 2012

Cranberry Orange Cookies

12 Days of Christmas Cookies Day 3! One of the best cookies I have ever made was an oatmeal cranberry cookie that came from a mix. When I was in college and worked at Hallmark, we sold this mix at Christmas and it was so good. I’ve never been able to replicate the flavors of those cookies, but ever since then, I have been a big fan of cranberries in cookies. Luckily, I live in a state that grows cranberries and I had a chance to tour a cranberry farm. Cranberries grow low to the ground and water is used in the harvesting process. They truly are a unique berry!

Cranberries are a natural pair for orange. Sometimes I see recipes from cranberry sauce with orange added. In this case the orange is subtle, with zest in the dough and mixed with sugar for the cookie coating. You wouldn’t think that adding a little orange zest to sugar would make that big of difference, but it really does. Dorie Greenspan uses this technique in a number of her recipes, and it adds such a flavor boost. Don’t skip a step and leave the zest out of the sugar topping.

These cookies have a delicate flavor, and I would probably add more cranberries next time. I like them because they aren’t too heavy and the orange adds some freshness to the flavor. I think I would make these cookies smaller, as they were pretty big for such a delicately-flavored cookie. They do keep well, so this is a good choice if you want to bake cookies a couple of days before you need to serve them.

Cranberry Orange Cookies
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon orange zest

½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cranberries and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Chill dough while you make orange sugar.

Combine ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the 2 together until the mixture is fragrant.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the orange sugar. Place on baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Fake Ginger

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