November 23, 2009

Cookies: Orange-Cranberry Slices

My gardener and I don't eat a lot of sweets so I never include dessert as part of our meals.  We recently had friends here for a week for deer hunting and after dinner one night one of them said "What's for dessert?" I had to confess that I didn't have dessert, but we sure would have some the next night.  During their stay, I made a pineapple upside-down cake and a peach cobbler, which they were very happy to have and I was very happy to make. 

We do like cookies, though so I decided to make some today.  These cookies are similar to the Neopolitan Cookies I made a while back.  I like this type of cookie because you can mix it up one day, refrigerate it and bake them the next. 

Here are the ingredients:  butter, sugar, egg, milk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts, red food coloring and grated orange zest.  What's that bottle of vodka doing on the left, you ask?  Oh, it's not vodka, it's my vanilla extract.  I've had that bottle for 25 years.  

To make your own vanilla extract, start with a small bottle of vodka and add some vanilla beans, which you've sliced in half.  Let it sit for a month or so and then it's ready to use!  When you run low, just add more vodka and more vanilla beans.  You'll never pay a ridiculous price for vanilla extract again and this will taste a whole lot better!  

Now, let's get to the cookies!

Combine butter and sugar and beat until creamy.

Add an egg, milk and vanilla.

Sift flour and baking powder, then add it to the mixer.

Grate a couple teaspoons of orange zest.  I didn't measure this - I used the zest of two oranges.

Divide the dough.  In two-thirds, mix dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and red food coloring.  In one-third, mix the orange zest.  (I added a bit of orange food coloring to this.)

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and let it hang over the sides to help with removal of the dough later.  Press one-third of the cranberry dough into the pan.

Now, on top of the cranberry layer, press the one-third portion of the dough that has the orange zest in it.

And last, press the other one-third of the cranberry dough on top of the orange dough.  In this picture you'll see that I rolled the dough into a log the length of the pan and then flattened it.  I thought it might make more of an even layer - we'll see if that was useful when we bake them!

Finally, when the third layer of dough is in the pan, fold the excess plastic wrap over the dough and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When you're ready to bake cookies, remove the chilled dough from the pan, slice and bake!   The recipe calls for the dough to be cut into 1/4-inch slices, but the knife kept getting stuck o the dried cranberries, so I ended up cutting these a little thicker and it worked out fine.  I really liked the pronounced orange flavor of the middle section of this cookie.  I'll make these another day and make orange and chocolate slices!

This is a good recipe from Land O Lakes, which you can find here.

And finally, I'm sending this over to Susan at Food Blogga as an entry into her Eat Christmas Cookies, Season 3.  Don't forget to check out the round-up page for lots of Christmas cookie recipes!


  1. How neat is that! What a great recipe, Karen.

  2. I'll be that is wicked vanilla!

  3. very pretty recipe... I make my vanilla out of bourbon. I get that deep dark color that way, has just the right taste. Made the same way as yours.

  4. They look so pretty. And cranberries, orange, walnut, how delicious!

  5. What a great recipe! will bookmark this one.

  6. Ooh, I love these, Karen! They're so colorful and creative! I'm also a huge fan of pineapple upside-down cake, so thumbs-up on that choice too.

  7. I love the cranberry and orange combination, they look wonderful too!

  8. Yum! I'm always looking for a new way to enjoy cranberries.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

  9. These are really pretty cookies Karen. What a great flavor combination! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Those are some pretty cookies :)Happy Thanksgiving :)

  11. Sounds like you had a great time with your friends, these look delicious but would probably kill Matt as he's allergic to oranges. I could do lemon though...hmmm...

    OMG that vanilla extract trick is the BEST EVER!! Mostly because yes it is recoculously expensive but required for just about everything so THANKS!!


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