Nancy Jamison was right when she wrote us that these cookies are addictive. We loved their combination of coconut, cranberries, and orange. In fact, these straightforward, tasty rounds are everything a holiday cookie should be. The mixture will look dry until it comes together as a dough. If it's too crumbly to form into balls, the dough needs to be mixed longer; it should be a smooth, homogeneous mass.
About 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut
How to Make It
In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes. Mix in cranberries and coconut.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.
Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until cookie edges just begin to brown, 8 to 11 minutes (shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). If baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.
We just finished making this cookie and despite mixing for at least 7 minutes, the dough never came together in a "homogeneous mass". We both checked the recipe several times to ensure we hadn't missed an ingredient. After our first batch, we decided to add an egg to the remaining dough and the resulting cookies were perfect! The eggless batch taste like shortbread cookies, while those with egg were chewy and soft. Great tasting cookies, but we think it's missing the binding ingredient needed to produce the "chewy" cookie proclaimed in the recipe.
This is my #1 Christmas cookie recipe. I've made them every year since they won in Sunset. You must have patience, have a stand mixer, wait until the crumbles clump back together. I zest one huge orange with a microplane grinder and don't measure it. Love these. And I'm a chocolate lover.
Instead of cranberries and white chocolate, I made spumoni cookies with one cup each of dried cherries, semi sweet chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios. A good filler staple for my cookie tin gifts.
These cookies are tasty, but the one thing that the reviews and instructions do not say clearly enough is that you should mix it to death BEFORE the cranberries and coconut. I mixed mine for more than five minutes and could see that it was coming together so added my cranberries and coconut. Then after the first batch came out of the oven without flattening out I started mixing some more to make it less crumbly. now my cookies are pinkish. Not near as pretty as the first batch, but they did spread finally. I recommend mixing it even more than you think you should in the beginning (definatley more than 5 minutes).
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