If you follow me on social media, you will have seen these delicious morsels earlier today. They are festive, sweet and perfectly soft and crumbly ~ and completely addictive.
Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup of butter, shortening or lard (whichever your preference)
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Place the cranberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a blender or food processor, and "pulse" for a few seconds at a time until chopped. You want them to be in small pieces, not gooey. Set aside.
2. Combine flour and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a mixing bowl, then cut in butter/shortening/lard. Mix well until crumbly and thoroughly combined (as you would regular pastry dough).
3. Add cranberries, almonds, extracts and egg, and knead only until a smooth dough is formed.
4. Shape dough into 2 inch balls, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Place 2 inches apart on non-stick cookie sheet. Do not press the dough into the cookie sheet to flatten - they will burn! Flatten them in your hands, then set them on the sheet.
5. Bake at 325* for approximately 6 - 8 minutes.
6. Allow to cool 5 minutes on the cookies sheets, then move to a wire cooling rack.
**Note: oven temperatures vary, so watch the first batch like a hawk ~ the cookies may look underdone, but as soon as you see the faintest hint of browning on the edges, they are finished. If you bake them beyond that point, they won't be chewy!
I choose to make these as drop-cookies. If you prefer traditional shortbread, just skip the egg, chill the dough overnight, and roll out on a floured surface to cut out 1/4 inch thick cookies.
HINTS: Pure extracts give a much better flavor than imitation. Avoid handling the dough more than necessary for lighter cookies.