Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Oops, I missed the boat. These were meant to be Christmas cookies. Well, even slightly before Christmas, Christmas cookies.  But, as tends to happens, the holidays just quickly descended upon me, and before I could be warned, I found myself in the thick of it. And I just sort of had to hold on, and enjoy the ride.

And then before I knew it, it was over. Leaving me wind swept and slightly nostalgic.
And also realizing that there were not enough cookies this past holiday season. Not enough cookies at all. So why not get my fill now...

These shortbread cookies are great for the holiday season, being that they are festively spotted with deep red cranberries. But they are not so holiday cookie-ish that they cannot be enjoyed the rest of the year. They are not, for example, shaped like candy canes, or drenched in mint chocolate. Nope, these buttery biscuits are perfect for any occasion, or even any non-occasion. Really, they are just perfect.
They're rich and buttery and melt in your mouth. They have just a hint of sweetness from the cranberries, and the right amount of citrus zing to them-but not too much that all you taste is orange.

And the best part is, or shall I say the icing on the cookie is...they take a quick minute to put together. This is a simple recipe, without any complicated steps. Just cream, mix, stir, and roll. Basic steps you find in any baking recipe. So if you tend to shy away from baking, this is the perfect recipe to test the waters with. And the best part is, your end product is guaranteed to be delicious (just be sure to use a scale!)

Orange Cranberry Shortbread
Makes 40-50 small cookies.
I recommend, and i cannot say this enough, using a scale when baking. Almost all of my baking disasters ceased when I started using a scale. Measuring cups, though cute they might be, are just not very accurate. How many people can interpret a lightly packed cup of powdered sugar the same? Every time I try, I get a different amount! And in this recipe, the sugar to flour ratio does make a difference in how well they hold up in the oven. That being said, you can certainly get by without one, but you can find them as cheap as five dollars at bed bath and beyond. 

260 gr (2 cups) flour
80 gr (3/4 cups) powdered sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperate
zest of 1 orange
60 gr (1/2 cup) dried sweetened cranberries
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed. Cream until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Stop the mixer. Add the zest and vanilla. On low speed mix just until incorporated. Add the flour, mix. Once the flour is just mixed in, stir in the cranberries. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten the dough onto the wrap, and then top with another layer of plastic wrap. This makes the dough easy to roll out. Roll the dough to roughly a 1/4" thick, and transfer to the fridge for about an hour. Once the time is up, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a ruler, cut the cookies into 1" squares. I used the width of the ruler as my guide, cutting down along the side of it. Place the cookies on a prepared baking sheet (I use silpat mats.) Give them a little room to breath-don't crowd them or they wont puff as nicely. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are becoming lightly golden. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes, then enjoy!