My Dad gave me an honorary award for these cookies. He said they are the closest thing he's ever eaten to this shortbread cookie he and my Mom adored during their days in Detroit, before they had kids. I believe he said something about having tried to replicate the recipe, or find a comparable cookie to make at home, and he never could. Decades later, and my family inhales these cookies.
They are a holiday cookie because you use fresh, whole cranberries, which are pretty much only readily available in grocery stores around the time people will be using them for cranberry sauce next to their turkeys. And right around this time each year, like clockwork, I start to crave them. But, I do love a good shortbread cookie, pretty much anytime.
These take shortbread to the next level. The cookie itself is not very sweet. But it's rich, buttery. And those scattered white chocolate chips give you just the interesting bite you didn't see coming. Dried blueberries add extra kick. But the trump card, the absolute best thing about these cookies, are those oozing fresh cranberries. They are tart, and they burst when you bite them, and they sizzle while they're cooking in the oven. It's a truly wonderful experience, baking these little babies and hearing them pop as the cranberry juice heats up and bursts while they cook.
You should definitely make these this season. Make them for something special, or just make them because it's Tuesday, or Friday. Make them because you have leftover cranberries from your holiday feast! But absolutely make them, and have some friends or family around to help you, so that you don't eat every single one. I've eaten three already tonight. I'll be whipping up a second batch next week when my parents and brothers show up at my house to celebrate Thanksgiving.
1 cup butter or margarine
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp orange juice (you'll probably need a bit more)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dried blueberries or blueberry-flavored Craisins (I've used either to a successful cookie - the Craisins are always cheaper)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries ( I always add a few extra, let's be honest)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment.
2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Then beat in the egg yolk and orange juice. Sift together the flour and salt into the mixture, add the blueberries, cranberries, and chocolate chips, and stir thoroughly until combined. Don't worry, this dough is very dry, and often I will end up with floury bits of unmixed dough at the bottom of my bowl at the end, no matter how much I mix. If it's too dry, I will add a bit more orange juice. (Ok, I think I add more orange juice every time.) Just make sure the dough is very dry, like a shortbread.
3. Scoop up tablespoons of the dough and put them on prepared cookie sheets spaced well apart. I flatten mine slightly.
4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes, then using a metal spatula, transfer to wire racks or plates and cool completely. Definitely eat a few while they're warm and fresh.
Do NOT store in air-tight containers. You want these to be dry like shortbread. There is so much moisture in the berries, that if you store them sealed up, they become mushy and gross. Don't ruin good cookies!
Makes about 30.