Classic shortbread, traditionally baked in shaped molds or in rounds cut into wedges, is made with three simple ingredients – butter, flour and sugar. This recipe expands on the basics and blends the flavors of cranberries and orange into a delicious shortbread cookie.
Cornstarch is a common ingredient found in many shortbread cookie recipes. It helps tenderize the cookies and give them a lovely texture. Some shortbread recipes call for confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) instead of granulated sugar for the same reason. Confectioner’s sugar is a combination of very fine granulated sugar and cornstarch blended together until light and airy.
Shortbread cookies are great for people who are allergic to eggs. During the time we purchased our new home and were waiting for it to be built, I happened to also be working on developing and testing recipes for my proposal for 400 Sensational Cookies. One of the real estate agents in the sales office was allergic to eggs. So each week, when we came out to check the progress on our house, I would bring her a different flavor of shortbread. She was so thrilled to have homemade cookies that she could enjoy without having to worry about the ingredients. By the time the house was built, every recipe for the shortbread chapter was well tested.
Light, tender and crispy, these delicious shortbread cookies are easy to make and perfect for sharing during the holidays. I had fun creating this recipe and with the delightful pairing of orange and cranberry flavors, I will definitely add these to my cookie gifts this year.
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
Additional granulated sugar
1. Position the oven rack in the middle of oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt until well combined. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the orange zest and the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until blended. The dough will be crumbly. By hand, fold in the cranberries, stirring just until the dough comes together and forms a ball.
4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Place onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Use the bottom of a glass to flatten the balls to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or just until the edges start to turn very lightly golden.
5. Immediately slide the parchment paper onto a wire cooling rack. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes, then transfer from the parchment paper to a cooling rack and cool completely before storing.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Copyright © Linda J. Amendt 2010