“A GUEST NEVER FORGETS THE HOST WHO HAD TREATED HIM KINDLY.” Homer
I never bake (or eat!) so many cookies as I do around Christmas time! And every season I always try something new. These cookies were made at Christmas 2011, when Jen at The Three Little Piglets invited me to do a guest post for her Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies series! Aside from their beautiful color, sweet-tart taste and crunchy-chewy texture, I love these because . . . . .
. . . . . they can be made in advance! This is my favorite ice box cookie of all time!
This sweet vanilla dough is formed in a bread pan and layered with a combination of tartly sweet cranberries and cherry preserves. The texture is crisp AND chewy!
Yields: about 3 dozen cookies
Level of Difficulty: Easy
FOR THE CRANBERRY CHERRY FILLING:
- 5 oz. of dried sweetened cranberries
- ½ cup of cherry jam or preserves
- 1 ½ Tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of almond extract
Place the cranberries, jam and sugar in a food processor and process until it is coarsely pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally. When the mix just comes to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Stir in almond extract and cover and refrigerate for 1 hr. and is well chilled. This can be made up to 4 days in advance.
This is a great icebox cookie that slices easily and keeps very well.
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 11 Tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium, cream sugar and butter until smooth and well blended. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extracts and beat till well blended. Add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated.
Line a 4 ½ by 8 ½ inch bread pan with tin foil, leaving about a 3 inch overhang over the long sides of the pan. On top of the foil, repeat this procedure using 2 long pieces of plastic wrap.
Divide the dough into quarters. Gently roll one quarter of the dough into a shape that will roughly fit the bottom of the bread pan. Place the dough into the pan and pat it to spread as evenly as possible. Smooth 1/3 of the filling over the top of the dough. It will be stiff, but an offset spatula works best to push the jam evenly over the dough. Repeat the process in the same way with the remaining dough and jam. Wrap the plastic wrap over the top of the dough and place the pan in the freezer for at least 1 ½ hours or longer.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheets with parchment or spray your pans with nonstick spray. Remove the dough from the pan using the tin foil ‘handles’. Remove the plastic wrap. Cut the loaf crosswise into thirds. Trim and cut the sides as necessary to make sure the blocks of dough are straight and not flared. Work with one block at a time, keeping the others in the fridge, and cut each third into ¼ inch thick slices. Wipe your knife clean between cuts if necessary. Place each slice on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time, in the upper third of your oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until just slightly brown at the edges. Immediately transfer to wire racks to cool.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.