My family lives in the Chicagoland area and it has been freezing cold! Personally, I wish Mother Nature would take her arctic blast back home… to the arctic. We’ve had enough. Hopefully, it hasn’t been unbearably cold for you too! Because of the extremely cold weather, schools are closed and our Girlies have been home for the last two days. With some unexpected together time, it’s the perfect chance to bake cookies and then eat them with a nice, cold glass of milk. (I know you’re surprised about the “cold” glass of milk, but stick with me here. When you bake these cookies, you’ll grab the cold gallon of milk too…no matter the weather outside.) So let’s talk Cranberry Pecan Valentine Shortbread cookies (and they’re tasty for every other special day too).
This is a super, simple recipe from my Grandma, so it’s tried and true and terrific! This cookie is perfect for everyday and also for many different holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Fourth of July, because of the cranberry red color. There are a couple of quick tips and variations, so let’s chat about those before we start baking.
TIPS and TRICKS
1) The dough can be made and frozen for a few months. I agree – Woohoo! They can be made ahead of time and baked when needed. Let the dough soften a bit before trying to cut them into slices. 2) I rolled the dough into a circle (ok maybe an oval) today. You can shape the roll into a square, a triangle, a rectangle, even a heart…any shape you want. Although it’s a little harder to sugar the outside edge of a heart.
3) Sometimes, I use colored sugar to rim the outside edge of the cookie. I’ve used pink, red, and white sugar and I like each of them. However, you don’t need the cookie edge sugared for it to be a delicious cookie.
4) I chop the pecans finely and our Girlies don’t even notice them. Shhh… It’s our secret. Usually, I get an yuck or ewehh if they see nuts. Not with this cookie. You could leave out the pecans, I suppose (but why??).
5) Don’t over bake them (pretty please). The cookies really don’t turn any color. That’s part of the beauty. The cranberries and pecans are the stars.
CRANBERRY PECAN SHORTBREAD COOKIES
makes 5 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cranberries and pecans. Use a hand whisk or a fork to mix the ingredients. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream together to the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Then add the dry ingredients from the other bowl and mix on low until fully combined.
- Turn the dough onto a board and divide into two parts.
- Shape each part into a roll about 8 inches long and 2 inches in diameter.
- Wrap each roll tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- (Freeze at this point, if needed.)
- For sugared edges, roll in colored sugar. Otherwise, skip this step.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the logs into ¼ inch slices and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1½ inches apart.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Once the cookies cool, pour a glass of cold milk for the kiddos and nibble away. Delicate! Delicious! Delightful! I hope you get a chance to bake some too for your Valentine (or Fourth of July firecracker or Christmas Santa). They really are yummy and easy!