Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Cookie Exchange: Lemon Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread


I think we all might have a touch of Cookie Monster in us when it comes to our love of cookies. I mean, really, who does not love cookies?

One of my favorite holiday traditions is an old fashioned cookie exchanges. You bring in a couple dozen cookies and swap with your friends. You leave with a sampling of cookies; maybe an old favorite or maybe even something new.

My cookie of the year is a Lemon Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread. The red cranberries and the green pistachio's just look like Christmas in a cookie.  The lemon just gives the cookie an extra pop of flavor.

Lemon Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted pistachio's coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
zest from 1 lemon

Mix the flour and salt together in a separate bowl. In your mixer beast the butter until smooth.  Add the sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Gently stir in the flour mixture just till incorporated. Fold in the pistachio'sand dried cranberries.

Divide dough in half. Roll into a log and and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least three hours or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/3 inch thick cookies. Place on a prepared cookie sheet (one lined with parchment) and bake for 15-20 minutes. You want the edges to be just beginning to brown.

My work life has been rather busy lately. Our agency is kicking off a new approach to engaging with families to help partner to keep children safe. We had a huge kick off in St. Louis, Missouri, four hours from my home. I arrived home late in the evening the night before our cookie exchange. What I appreciated most was this dough was able cool in the refrigerator the two days I was gone.  One word of advice, I should have let the dough sit at room temperature for a moment before I started slicing. 

My girlfriend sent me a text after trying the cookie. She is not very adventurous in her culinary life. She wanted me to know that the pistachio's scared her but she really liked the cookie. I love it when you try something new and learn it is yummy! 

Thank you coworkers for inviting me to the cookie exchange. I came home with some super yummy cookies. The family wolfed down the peanut butter cookies. I loved the molasses spice cookies and the applesauce cookies! They both reminded me so much of my childhood. My mom used molasses a lot when I was growing up. Mom also used to make an applesauce cake and those cookies felt so familiar! 

I hope you all are enjoying the most wonderful time of the year ! Don't forget to slow down from the hustle and bustle of shopping to enjoy a small pleasure. Have a cookie! 

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