Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cranberry Orange Cookies

Every year I try to make one "different" cookie recipe around the holidays. I'm not saying that I go for something extreme, like chocolate chip bacon cookies, but I do like to have one thing on the Christmas cookie plate that isn't just chocolate chip oatmeal, gingerbread, shortbread or a sprinkle-laden butter cookie. Bright with orange zest and packed with chewy dried cranberries, these cookies fit the bill perfectly. They're delicious.
The cookies themselves are light, with an excellent texture, and are very buttery tasting. They get crisp at the edges after baking, but are left with a soft chew by the next day. The orange zest is not overwhelming and it gives the cookies a light flavor that makes you reach for another straight away. I think that cranberries are a good match for the orange, but dried blueberries would probably also work out very well if you want something different. And, of course, you can always toss in either white or dark chocolate chips.
Don't overbake these cookies. They should only be ever so slightly colored at the edges when they are done baking. Leave them to set up on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool, or you could end up with cookie crumbs, instead of whole cookies.

Cranberry Orange Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
zest of one large orange (about 1 tbsp)
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light. Beat in egg and orange zest. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Stir in the cranberries.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (about 1 1/4-inch balls) onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 4 dozen.

By the way - did you know that the 2006 Food Blog Awards are going on right now? It's a low pressure event, but it's nice to go and nominate your favorite bloggers. I'm not thrilled with the way that they have judges pick from all the nominated blogs to see who we will vote on, but hey - that's their system. And the idea behind the event, recognizing everyone's hard work and decication of every reader (who hopefully finds lots of tasty recipes), is definitely agood one.