My house is full of cookies. I have been very busy baking since I fell behind on my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies last week-end with a bunch of duds. My luck seems to have changed, because this week-end I hit a series of great cookie recipes that I am excited to share with you!
I love cranberries. Cranberry cocktail, cranberry sauce, craisins, crantinis....the list goes on and on. Cranberries are so red and pretty and tart and sour. And cranberries are the most important component of Christmas dinner. They bring the pizazz. Just like they do to these cookies.
Growing up, on Christmas day I had the most important job in the kitchen: Cranberry Sauce Girl. My mom was Turkey Lady, my brother was Potato Masher Boy, and my dad was Brussels Sprouts Guy. (Can you imagine being Brussels Sprouts Guy? Bleh...no thank-you!) Cranberry sauce was one of the first things I learned how to make, and I was darn good at my job. Well except for the year that we couldn't find the recipe and tried to make a recipe involving gelatin that didn't set up. Minor setback.
Cranberry sauce is so simple and so easy to make, I can not for the life of me understand why people buy those cans of cranberry sauce. When you take something out of the can and it retains its 'can shape', that's a bad sign!
These cookies help me embrace my love of cranberry sauce. The cookie is kind of shortbready, with a crunchy outer layer of walnuts. The filling is like cranberry sauce, but thicker, and with a hint of lemon zest. When you get to the filling, the flavor is all things cranberry: sweet, tart, wham, bam, kapow! Holy flavor, Batman!
For the Cookie: (Makes approximately 24 large cookies)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped walnuts
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients, mixing until everything is well combined.
Roll into golf ball sized balls. Roll each ball in egg yolks, then in chopped walnuts, pressing gently so the walnuts stick. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and gently press down the center of the cookie with the handle of a wooden spoon or similar utensil.
Bake for 8 minutes. Press down the center of the cookie again with spoon handle. Return to the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. Press down the center of the cookie a third time, then let cookies cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to wire rack.
Cool completely before filling.
For the Cranberry Filling
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
In a small pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5-6 minutes, gently mashing the cranberries with the back of a spoon. Filling should get a jam-like consistency. Allow to cool completely before spooning into cookies.