Saturday, December 29, 2007

Cookie Party: Cranberry-Orange Slice-and-Bake Cookies

The third cookie we had at this high school get-together is the cranberry-orange version of the slice-and-bake cookies Deb posted about on Smitten Kitchen. (There are many reasons to admire Deb, not the least of which is that all these delicious cookie recipes were posted while she was actually on vacation in the Caribbean - that is amazing preparation.) I've made similar slice-and-bake cookies before, usually the (Meyer) lemon sablés from Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte (and Orangette's adaptation). This "fillings" version was quite good, but I am not convinced I don't prefer the simpler lemon version instead.

Cranberry-Orange Slice-and-Bake Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
grated zest of 2 oranges
½ cup finely chopped dried cranberries

1. Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until it is smooth. (I used a handheld mixer.) Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky. Beat in the egg yolk, followed by the salt and the orange zest and chopped cranberries. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. It is better to underbeat than overbeat at this point; if the flour isn’t fully incorporated, that’s OK - just blend in whatever remaining flour needs blending with a rubber spatula. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, and divide it in half. Roll each half into a log that is about 1 to 1¼ inches thick. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to a month.)

2. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3. While the oven is preheating, roll cookie logs in any coatings of your choice. Then, using a sharp slender knife, slice each log into cookies about ⅓ inch thick. (You can make the cookies thicker if you’d like; just bake them longer.) Place the cookies on the lined baking sheets, leaving about ½ inch space between them.

4. Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are set but not browned. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to cool to room temperature.

Keeping: Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for about 5 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for a month. Unbaked logs can be frozen for longer.

Makes about 50 cookies.


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