Cranberry Noels Christmas Cookies

Posted on 2010-12-02 By

Christmas time is here! Deck the Halls! Good King Wenceslas! The Holly and the Ivy!

I admit to turning on carols first thing yesterday morning.  I dont love Christmas for religious reasons, but all the trimmings and cheer of the season.   I look froward to the trees, lights, cookies, and time with family all year.

To jump head first into the season, I baked my first batch of Christmas cookies yesterday.  These Cranberry Noels are butter through and through. Complementary flavors of tart cranberry and toasted pecans stud the cookies for a perfect savory/sweet balance.

As for toasting the pecans: I beseech you, do not skip this step.  Although not specified in the original recipe, it was worth the five minutes in the toaster oven that took my humble pecans from chalky and soft to crisp and buttery.  In earlier years of baking, I thought toasting nuts was ludicrous, but I know the difference now: melt in your mouth cookies.

Christmas Cookies

Make these cookies a holiday gift:

Wrap one log tightly in parchment paper and store overnight in the refrigerator or up to three weeks in the freezer.  Tie the ends with ribbon and give the gift of a homemade cookie dough log so your giftee has not only cookies but the heavenly scent of fresh baked cookies. (As good a gift as any!)  Or, slice the cookies yourself, bake, and pack nicely in a box or tin.

Make your own!

(Recipe from MarthaStewart.com)

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted first)

Directions

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add milk and vanilla.  Beat until just combined.  With mixer on low, gradually add flour, salt, cranberries, and pecans; continue beating until fully combined.

2. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface, and divide into 2 equal pieces.  Shape each piece into an 8-inch log, about 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. (Lindsays note: Wrap one log tightly and place it in a freezer safe bag and freeze for the next time you have guests or for a thoughtful gift of homemade cookie dough.)

3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake until edges are golden, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through.  Remove from oven, and transfer cookie to a wire rack to cool completely.

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