It’s that time of year, lots of baking, and hot chocolate drinking is underway. Presents are being wrapped and put under the tree. Carols are being sung. And, in our case, a 1-year old is being chased around and blocked from getting close to the Christmas tree and inevitably, our little guy, is being photographed in front of the tree. A tradition started last year at his first Christmas and which he will endure for years to come!
I still remember huddling around my mom with my sister making my mom’s peanut brittle and Chinese noodle cookies, with fingers and faces covered in chocolate and marshmallows and bowls being licked clean. We’ve spent several of the last few holiday seasons apart from our families, but still managed to bring the holiday spirit along with us wherever we are and whomever we celebrate with. We enjoy our traditions and the opportunity to make new ones ourselves and with our son.
First up in the baking line up, shortbread cookies…a new addition of the last couple years. This is an easy one to make up one basic batch and then add different ingredients to make different versions. We love these lavender shortbread cookies…but wanted a more festive twist on them, so I went with cranberry and orange.
- 3/4 cup of dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 cups of butter, softened
- 2/3 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup of cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a food processor or electric chopper, combine cranberries, sugar, and orange zest.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, add butter, sugar, and confectioner’s sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy.
- Add cranberry mixture to standing mixer and mix until well combined.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine together the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
- Add flour mixture to the standing mixer in three batches and mix on medium speed until the ingredients of the dough are well combined.
- Remove dough from the standing mixer. Divide in half and roll into two cylinders. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 325º.
- Cut cookies from your chilled cylinder of dough with a knife.
- Place your cut cookies onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until they begin to look golden.
- In between batches, place the baking sheet with your next batch in the fridge to keep the dough cool or you can cut only a batch at a time leaving the rest of the dough in plastic wrap and in the fridge.
- Once baked, slide the cookies (still on the parchment paper – to make it easier) onto wire racks to let them cool.
** This dough freezes well if you want to store some away for a later date or to have on hand for a last minute holiday party invite.