These are my favorite new cookies. I have made them three times because I like them so much. They are a perfect little afternoon cookie with a cup of tea, not that I ever sit down and have tea and cookies in the afternoon, but wouldn't that be nice? Essentially, they're a slice-and-bake shortbread cookie with dried cranberries and pecans. They are crisp and a little crumbly, not too sweet. The sugar on the edges is crunchy and balances the shortbready butteriness. And despite my relative indifference to cookies with nuts, the pecans are perfect against the sweet-tart cranberries.
I met two-thirds of The Baking Posse for dinner recently, before Nanette moved away, so I baked up a batch of these to bring along. I didn't have time to photograph them, so I wrapped the extras carefully for the freezer to take pictures later. When I searched for them, I learned that Josh had discovered them and been eating them! I actually didn't mind; he so rarely indulges in what I bake, so it's fun to make something he likes. Luckily, there were a few left for me to take pictures of.
Did I mention that these are addictive? They kind of melt in your mouth. I could very easily eat three. Or six. SO good. Oh, and they travel really well! Perfect for gifts, or to take camping. You can stack them up and roll them in plastic wrap.
That's the bottom of the cookie with the pecans showing.
All the cranberry goodness is at the top.
Cranberry Tea Cookies
Makes 35-40 cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (10 5/8 ounces) flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries (sometimes I don't chop them, which is just fine)
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) extra sugar
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and mix. Add flour and salt and mix well. Stir in cranberries and pecans.
Roll into two logs, each about 8 x 1 1/2" long. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for two hours in the fridge. (You can also put them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes if you want to move things along, just so it's firm enough to slice easily while still keeping its shape.)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Unwrap one roll, and sprinkle it with a little sugar. Use the waxed paper or plastic wrap to sort of roll the cookie log around in the sugar that falls off. Keep rolling, adding a little more sugar if needed, until the log is completely rolled in sugar. (This is easier than rolling each cookie individually.) Slice cookies about 1/4" thick and place on cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment. The cookies won't spread much, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking them after 10 minutes. Do not overbake them. They should look baked (not gooey) and have just a touch of color. You don't want them to get very brown on the edges or on top.
Eat with tea, milk, coffee, or just by themselves!