As the temperature dips and the days grow short, I definitely feel nesting urges. I swap afternoon trips to the park with my son for sticking a stew in the oven, popping a Christmas movie into the DVD player, and sitting on the couch for a cuddle and a cuppa. It is always hard to have a cup of tea without a biscuit, but in December, it’s hard not to have three or four, as there is always an endless variety in my house – not to mention the mince pies! I’m an absolute sucker for a new Christmas cookie recipe, so when the Irish Food Bloggers Association presented the opportunity for a recipe exchange between members, I jumped at the chance.
My recipe came from Magda, who blogs here about all sorts of goodies. She sent me a recipe for Cranberry Noel cookies, which she first discovered here, and she thinks are loosely based on a Martha Stewart recipe. I made them for the first time this afternoon and they tick a LOT of boxes for me. To begin with, I was able to make them while my son and his friend were having a play date in the next room (for those without toddlers, this means I was able to make them in about 7 minutes using only half of my brain, as the other half was tuned in to the conversation about dragons taking place in the sitting room). It’s an icebox cookie, so it’s easy to make up a few logs, stick them in the freezer, and bake on demand, earning you serious hostess points if someone drops in for tea and sympathy. The red & green in the dough is also very pretty and gives them a seasonal feel. The texture & flavour combinations are fantastic as well – a not- too-sweet, crumbly biscuit with mellow, crunchy nut and chewy, tart cranberry…excellent. I highly recommend giving them a go. Thanks, Magda!
Cranberry Noel Cookies
75 g unsalted butter
75 g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon milk
250 g plain flour
30 g chopped pistachios
40 g chopped dry cranberries
Coating (I skipped it)
1 egg white (lightly beaten)
50 g finely chopped pistachios
Beat the butter with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add icing sugar, vanilla sugar, salt and milk.
Mix until just combined.
Gradually add flour, pistachios, and cranberries.
Mix on low speed until fully combined.
Divide dough in a half.
Shape each half into 8-inch logs, about 2 inches in diameter.*
If you are putting coating. Lightly brush the logs with an egg white
and roll them in the chopped pistachios.
Wrap logs in cling film and put into a freezer for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan.
Line a couple baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Transfer them into prepared baking sheets.
Bake until edges are golden, about 10-12 minutes. (Be careful, they burn quite easily)
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
*At this stage, the dough was very crumbly and I was convinced that I had weighed the flour incorrectly; I hadn’t – the dough just needed a lot of shaping!