Friday, December 9, 2022

Cranberry Orange Drop Cookies

Cranberry Orange Cookie topped with Browned Butter Frosting, photographed on a burgundy plate.

Christmas Cookie #5! I had a different cranberry cookie planned, but I came across these and figured they would be quicker to make and portable for a potluck that I was attending. I had everything on hand, including frozen cranberries and an orange, so I was good to go. This recipe originally called for walnuts, but I tend to use pecans instead. I think many different nuts would work in this recipe.

This recipe is not a challenge, but I do question the 2-1/2 cups of chopped cranberries that the original recipe asked for. There was no way that I could incorporate that amount into the dough. While I was shaping the cookies, they seemed to shape better when there were fewer cranberries in that part of the dough. I changed it to 1-1/2 cups, but I think even 1 cup might be sufficient. Cranberries are tart, so less is just fine.

I used frozen cranberries and let them refrigerate for a while as I was working on several different doughs. Having any type of fruit in a cookie tends to lead to a wet dough, and that was true for these cookies as well. I don’t know that using fresh cranberries would make much of a difference. The browned butter frosting is fantastic, and the browned butter shines through. I had not used hot water in frosting before, so I did a combination of hot water and milk. I needed to add more liquid, as the frosting was so thick! While the consistency of the frosting was different, the combination of browned butter, cranberries, and orange is perfect for the holidays.

Cranberry Orange Drop Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
 1 cup chopped nuts

1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 to 4 tablespoons hot water/milk

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

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the milk, egg, orange zest and orange juice and mix on medium to combine. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Fold in the chopped cranberries and nuts.

Drop the dough into the prepared baking sheets, using about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before frosting.

Once the cookies are cool, make the frosting. In a small saucepan, place the butter and heat on medium low, swirling the pan frequently, until golden brown and smells toasted. This burns easily so it is critical to watch carefully. Transfer the browned butter to a mixer bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla to the mixer and mix to combine. Gradually add the water/milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. Pipe or spread the frosting on the cookies.

Recipe from Shirley Kidd via Taste of Home

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