Merry Christmas Eve, friends!
I don’t know about you but my past week has been a blur of cooking, baking and shopping.
I’m off work until January 9th and leaving for Argentina in 5 days! I bought a giant suitcase so it’s really happening.
Yet somehow despite all the exciting things coming up, I wasn’t really feeling the Christmas spirit this year.
I’m not totally sure why – possibly watching all three of my favorite terrible Christmas movies* before Thanksgiving caused an early onset of spirit and an inevitable burnout.
All I knew is I needed to fin the situation the only way I knew how – by baking Christmas cookies.
What are your go to’s? In our family it’s my grandmothers insanely good, crunchy sugar cookies topped with red and green sugar, Russian tea balls and these butter cookies that you bake with trench of jam, drizzle with a lemony icing and slice on the diagonal.
We call them jam diagonals, go figure.
However this recipe is for none of those cookies because on Friday I ventured into uncharted territory with slice and bake butter cookies that offer a world of options when it comes to flavoring and mix-in’s.
And after all, it is a Smitten Kitchen recipe so how risky could it really be?
Not at all, as it turns out – dead simple and completely delicious.
Of course as always I futzed with it to make it easier (read: didn’t read ahead to learn that the dough needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes, then rolled into logs, then refrigerated for another 2 hours in order to be firm enough to slice).
I’ve shortened the refrigeration time and dropped them on the sheet in balls instead of slicing them, and the result is adorable, two-bite cookies that beg to be served alongside a mug of steaming tea.
But if you’d like to follow the original recipe it’s here.
Also, as the title of this post might indicate I opted for orange zest and dried cranberries as my mix-in’s which I found to be extremely festive, but there are additional options in the original.
So whether you need something to put out for Santa tonight or, you know, eat yourself, I think these are a strong candidate.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all! Now let’s eat.
Cranberry orange butter cookies
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
Zest from two oranges
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put butter in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat again until the mixture is smooth and silky.
Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla followed by the salt, orange zest and dried cranberries. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, beating just until it disappears. Turn the dough out onto a counter, gather it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Then, remove from refrigerator and form into small balls – about an inch in diameter – and space evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until they are set but not browned.
Cool to room temperature and serve.
*:My favorite terrible Christmas movies are as follows: The Holiday, The Family Stone and, of course, Love Actually
A slice-and-bake cookie palette: https://smittenkitchen.com/2007/12/a-slice-and-bake-cookie-palette/