One of my favourite holiday activities growing up was making cookies with my mom and sister. Sugar cookies were my favourite, mostly because I enjoyed sneaking licks of the icing in between creating cookie masterpieces. Nothing seems to put me in the Christmas spirit like a day spent in the kitchen whipping up sweet treats. Especially when that day is spent whipping up these aromatic orange cranberry almond shortbread cookies. They fill your home with the aromatic smells of Christmas and delight your tastebuds with their fruity flavour and almond crunch.
I love trying out new cookie recipes and my test subject (aka the husband) is more than willing to do his part and sample them. The other day I made these amazing shortbreads and some coconut sugar cookie cups for a cookie exchange at work. By the time the exchange rolled around, I was low on cookies and had to make more of each kind. I guess I can take it as a compliment, these cookies are good.
Cookies with any kind of fruit did not interest me as a child. OK, I did love those jelly-filled ones but if they had chunks of fruit or nuts, I wouldn’t have it. I preferred the chocolate loaded or icing laced varieties.
I have to be in the mood to bake. Baking is not like cooking. It’s more precise and scientific. There is no pinches or dashes in baking, it’s precise measurements and instructions. There is a wee bit of wiggle room, but not like there is with cooking.
These Marth Stewart-inspired cookies from Craving Something Healthy offer a little more wiggle room than some cookie recipes out there. While I did follow the recipe exactly, I do intend to have some fun with it next time. The shortbread itself is buttery and crumbly and while the orange, cranberry and almond make for amazing Christmas flavours, I intend to change it up and experiment with different nuts and fruits next time.
The best part of these cookies is the simplicity of the recipe. They come together quickly and can be baked on the spot or you can wrap up the dough and slice and bake at a later time. It’s especially convenient for holiday entertaining. Keep a log of this dough in your fridge or freezer and bake up a batch just before company arrives. Not only will your guests be impressed that you whipped up a batch of cookies your house will smell divine.
Although I haven’t needed to freeze the dough, Ann from Craving Something Healthy says it freezes wonderfully. These orange cranberry almond shortbread cookies are one cookie that I will be making every Christmas from now on. They are simple and delicious and while yes, they are laden with butter and sugar, there are a few nutritional ingredients in there by way of fruits and nuts.
Orange Cranberry Almond Shortbread Cookies
- 1 C organic butter
- 1 C organic powdered sugar
- 3/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 C organic all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 2/3 C toasted almond pieces
- 1/3 C dried cranberries
Cream butter, sugar, salt and almond extract in bowl of mixer.
Turn speed to low. Slowly add flour and orange zest. Once dough has formed, stir in cranberries and almond pieces.
Split dough into two and roll pieces into a log shape. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge one hour.
Heat oven to 325, slice dough log into quarter-inch thick rounds. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are just slightly golden along the bottom. Let cool and move to a baking rack.
Dough can be stored in freezer for up to three months. Thaw slightly before slicing.