This is the perfect shortbread or Christmas cookie! If you love shortbread — and a lot of people do — this is the cookie to make. The colourful cranberries make them really pop at Christmas time.
This delightful recipe comes from Christmas Cookies: Dozens of Yuletide Treats for the Whole Family by Monika Römer [1, 2]. The recipes in this book are sometimes more challenging, but they are spectacular. The photos by Oliver Brachat (a chef and pâtissier himself) are gorgeous, and there is a special kids section for baking with the younger set that is quite good. Oh for some kids to bake with!
Also, if any of you are into German traditions of baking, or you want to see what it is all about, I would suggest this book. Note that heart shapes are very popular in Germany at Christmas, but they also would work beautifully for Valentine’s Day. Check out my photo, and I think you will agree.
• 1 1/3 cup (300 g) salted butter
• 1 (200 g) cup sugar
• 4 cups (500 g) all purpose flour
• 5 oz. (140 g) dried cranberries (not too finely chopped)
• Additional: Flour for dusting, heart-shaped cookie cutter, parchment. I would also use stars.
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C), unless your have a convection oven, in which case, preheat to 320 F (160 C).
2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer with a whisk attachment for about 10 minutes (I would recommend a stand mixer). Afterward the mixture should be cream white and should have visibly increased in volume.
3. Sprinkle the sugar in and continue stirring until the crystals have dissolved. (At this point I would switch to the paddle attachment.)
4. Add in the flour and cranberries, and then knead into a smooth dough. (Watch adding in the flour at the end, as you may not need it all. If you mixture is too dry, add more butter.)
5. Roll dough out on a floured counter top (or board) to form a sheet approximately 1/3 inch (to be specific, 2/5 inch) or 1 cm. thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out small hearts (or stars), and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
6. Place the baking sheet in a preheated oven (middle rack) and bake the shortbread hearts for about 10 minutes, until they are very lightly coloured. Remove the cookies from the oven, take them off the baking sheet along with the parchment paper and allow to cool. Makes one tray.
Now all you need is a proper cup of tea, and you have a most comforting afternoon Christmas treat!
Römer, Monika. Christmas Cookies: Dozens of Classic Yuletide Treats for the Whole Family. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2015.
Römer, Monika. Unsere Weihnachtsbäckerei: Hölker Verlag im Coppenrath Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Münster, Germany, 2012. This is the original German version of this book.
You can follow Sue Van Slooten's further adventures in the world of food or sign up for a cooking/baking class by visiting her website and you can also email her. She would love to hear from you! Read all of Sue's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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