chocolate dipped cranberry orange shortbread cookies

Today is the day! What day is that, you ask? Well, it’s the official day for sharing my cookie recipe for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap – and trust me – it’s a good one.

Back in October, I saw a post by Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil talking about how she and Julie from over at The Little Kitchen were hosting the second annual Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I was instantly intrigued for two reasons:

1. I love everything about food blogging

2. I love everything about cookies.

I was obviously on board.

To make things even better, the cookie swap teamed up with OXO to donate all proceedes to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer fund. How awesome is that?

After I registered and was assigned my cookie swap partners, I got to work thinking about what kind of cookie I wanted to make for the swap. It needed to be something a little holiday-ish and with a bit of chocolate – at least those were my criteria. A sturdy texture would be a bonus as well because these were to be shipped out to our three secret cookie matches.

I decided on Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies. It took two times making the recipe to tweak it just right, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. It was a little difficult to see them shipped off and out of my life – although in full disclosure, I made a giant batch and had several dozen left at home. Not that they lasted long.

The cookies turned out incredibly tender with the bright flavors of the cranberry and orange playing off the bittersweet of the chocolate. As a bonus, the dough was able to be made ahead of time and then refrigerated and baked off later. I just love cookies that help with my time management. It’s so thoughtful of them.

Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Yield: 3 dozen

Prep Time: 10 minutes (active) 1 1/2 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups of White Lily All Purpose Light Baking Flour (if using another brand of all purpose flour, reduce the amount of flour to 2 cups)
Zest of 2 oranges
1/2 cup of sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins)
6 oz of bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour, mixing just until a dough forms. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir in cranberries and orange zest. Divide the dough in half and place each half on a piece of floured waxed paper. Lightly dust your hands with flour and gently roll each half of the dough into a 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap logs tightly in the paper, twisting the ends up, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (To store longer, wrap log and paper tightly with plastic wrap.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Unwrap the logs and use a serrated knife to slice the logs into 3/8inch slices. If the dough doesn't slice well, allow the it to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes and try again. Arrange the slices, about 1 inch apart, on baking sheets.

Bake until slightly puffed and lightly golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir. Microwave on high in 15 second intervals, stirring between each time, until chocolate is melted.

Dip cooled cookies halfway into the chocolate and then place dipped cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm.

Cookies can be stored in an air tight container, at room temperature for 5 days.

adapted from Martha Stewart
December 12th, 2012