pistachio cranberry shortbread
I have a hard time trusting people who have self-control to only eat 2 cookies. I usually start out with 3 and choose to not look back! A potential dangerous guide to the holidays, but so far so good.
When I think Christmas cookies, I think shortbreads, sugar cookies, jam, candy canes, and a couple chocolate options, but butter cookies really steal the show. My favorite cookie this holiday season is the pistachio cranberry shortbread that found on Joy the Baker, http://bit.ly/2h3e4p5. These buttery, crunchy, melt-in your mouth cookies are highlighted with lightly toasted pistachios and vibrant, tangy cranberries. Beautiful, simple, and sure to please at any holiday event and they can work all year long!
2 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, slightly softened
⅔ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
Stand mixer or hand mixer
Metal baking sheet
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth (1 min on medium). Add sugar and beat until the mixture is a light and fluffy pale yellow (1.5-2 min on medium-high). Beat in vanilla (medium). In a separate bowl, mix flour and salt. Add flour mix slowly to the wet mixture (low-medium). Fold in pistachios and cranberries until evenly incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, putting one half down on a piece of wax paper. The dough will be a bit crumbly, so press it together tightly and begin to form a log. Form either a rectangular log, 10 inches long x 2 inches x 1.5 inches , or you can form a 10 inch circular log with a diameter between 1.5-2 inches. If the math freaks you out, basically form a smooth log that looks uniform from one end to the other. Do not be intimidated! Wrap the completed shortbread log in wax paper and put it in a gallon ziplock bag.
If you are planning on baking as soon as possible, freeze the dough for 2 hours or until firm. If you are not rushing, refrigerate the log for a minimum of four hours and a maximum of 3 days. These shortbread logs can be frozen for up to two months in advance! After a long deep freeze, they need to be thawed for at least 3-4 hours.
Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Unwrap the shortbread log. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into ¼ inch pieces. The best guide for knowing how thick to cut these (beside a ruler) is a wooden pencil. After slicing the cookies, place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Give the cookies about an inch of space from preventing cookie-twins.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies brown slightly on the edges. Remove from the oven and then place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.
Serve at least 3 when warm! If you are planning on packaging the cookies, wait until they are cool! Enjoy!
Tips & Notes:
*Room temperature defined by Google as a comfortable ambient temperature of 70F. If you live in an icebox like myself, where the temperature is 60 or lower, you will need to slightly soften the butter so that the dough can properly bind.
*Substitutions: Nut free option--substitute white chocolate for pistachios!