I’m not much of a cookie-maker, especially during the December holidays, when I stay busy turning out batches of my Scottish Toffee for friends. Most Christmas cookies don’t seem up to snuff compared to this toffee, so I had stopped baking cookies for years now.
On the other hand, I have held onto this icebox cookie recipe featured in Gourmet about seven years ago, just because I liked the combo of pistachios and dried cranberries. How Christmas-y, a sugar cookie studded with red and green. And I do get awfully tired of making all that toffee…
My version of the cookie includes vanilla, orange juice, a bit more sugar and I subbed Meyer lemon zest for the orange zest called for in the original recipe.
I made a batch of these for Larry to drop off at our neighborhood fire station today. It was a team of firefighters and paramedics from our Station 8 who saved Larry’s life, almost three years ago, when he suffered a heart attack. We try to say “thank you” throughout the year as our gratitude to those brave men and women knows no bounds. I hope they will enjoy the cookies, along with a generous Starbucks card for the whole gang.
Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate on the 25th – Season’s Greetings to everyone.
TIP: You can make up the dough bars ahead of time, cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
TIP: I sprinkled a little more decorating sugar on the baked cookies for a bit of sparkle.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
- ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- ½ cup coarse decorating sugar
- Sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt.
- Using either a standing or handheld mixer, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, orange juice and zest over medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating only until the dough begins to come together into clumps.
- Stir in the pistachios and cranberries by hand.
- Gather and press the dough together, then divide into 2 pieces. Using a piece of plastic wrap, form each piece into a log about 1½ inches thick. Square off the sides of each log to form a bar.
- Cover each bar with plastic wrap and chill in fridge at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Brush the sides of each bar with the beaten egg. Sprinkle decorating sugar on another piece of parchment, then press each side of both bars into the sugar.
- Slice the dough into ⅓ inch-sized cookies and arrange on lined baking sheets about ½ inch apart.
- Bake until edges of cookies turn pale gold, 12-15 minutes, rotating baking sheets once during the baking process.
- Cool on racks before serving or storing – if you can wait that long.