Cranberry Orange Icebox Cookies

Since I got back to the U.S. one of the snacks I have been indulging in is dried cranberries. In China cranberries are nonexistent, if you are even able to find the dried stuff it will be imported and cost at least $9 a package. I went through a year and a half without this gorgeous sweet snack, and not surprisingly, gobbled almost a whole bag yesterday on my flight from California to Florida.

I decided to follow up my snackage with more cranberries, in the form of cookies. Absent of egg or milk, these buttery little morsels crumble easily in your mouth. Just make sure you cream the butter until airy. (If you need a refresher on the importance of creaming butter, read this recent NYTimes article.)

I had adapted a Gourmet recipe from two years ago for pistachio cranberry cookies, which called for rolling the sides in egg wash and sugar to achieve an extra bit of caramelized crunch. Where has this trick been all my life? Think of how many decent icebox cookies I have made through the years that weren't able to achieve their full potential!

Extra grated orange rind went into these cookies for a citrusy scent and taste, and chopped almonds were thrown in for texture. Since these 3 dozen will almost certainly be gone by tomorrow night, I need to pick up more of these way-cheaper-than-$9-a-bag cranberries, pronto.

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Other cookie recipes:

Goji Oatmeal-Almond Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Orange Almond Lace Cookies

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Cranberry Orange Icebox Cookies Adapted from Gourmet's "Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies", December 2006

Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened 2/3 cup granulated sugar 3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup unsalted roasted almonds, chopped 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/4 cup granulated sugar for cookie rims

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate large bowl (or in an electric mixer) cream together butter, sugar, and orange zest until light and airy. Add flour mixture in three doses, and mix together until well-combined. Stir in cranberries and almonds. Halve the dough, and roll each half into 1 1/2-inch wide logs. Wrap each log and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. (If in a hurry, toss into the freezer for at least 30 minutes.) These can also be chilled overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Have eggwash ready in one small bowl and granulated sugar in another. Slice each log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Take a round and roll the sides first in eggwash, then in sugar, until the sides are coated. Repeat with all the slices, then line on cookies sheets abouut 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating the top and bottom sheets halfway through, for 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Cookies will keep for 5 days in an air-tight container. The dough will keep 1 month in the freezer.