I had a bowl of fresh cranberries left over in the fridge, and needed to use them up! They are so pretty and make everything look festive... so instead of doing all of the Christmas prep stuff I needed to do, I baked! These little nuggets are sweet, sour and citrusy. Make the dough, toss it in the fridge to chill, bake the next day. Yum.
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- zest of 1 lemon
- fresh orange juice, squeeze small orange by hand (about 4-6 tbsp)
Mix sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Section cold butter into 1" cubes and place on top of flour and sugar. Cut in with a pastry knife until you've created a fine mixture; work to get the butter to pieces no bigger than a pea. Mix in extract, orange juice and lemon zest with a fork until well combined. Add in fresh cranberries. Mix in bowl with hands to stir in cranberries. Dump mixture onto clean countertop and begin to form dough with your hands. This will take some work to get the dough to form, work it by squeezing it to warm the butter until the mixture begins to stick. I prefer to do this in a few smaller sections instead of trying to form one large ball of dough.
Once your dough has come together, form into one large or 2-3 smaller logs, about 2 1/2" in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (you can make this dough and chill it for up to 2 days if you desire). Pre-heat your oven after the dough is fully chilled to 325*. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the logs of dough into 1/4" rings and space evenly on cookie sheets. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, just enough to get the edges of your cookies BARELY golden brown. Over baking shortbread makes a flakey dry dusty puck, so watch them carefully. It's best to slightly under-bake if anything.
Remove from heat and cool on baking sheet, then transfer to rack. Store in air tight container for up to 5 days.