Twelve Days of Baking: Cherry, Cranberry and Pistachio Nut Shortbread Cookies

November 2, 2011

Day 2: Cherry, Cranberry and Pistachio Nut Shortbread Cookies

Baking should not take all day. But quality should not be sacrificed either. I think this crunchy, rich, and definitely addicting shortbread cookie from my mother’s recipe box is a nice balance between time spent baking and the delicious results.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from Ciao Italia Family Classics.

Mom’s Dried Cherry, Cranberry and Pistachio Nut Shortbread Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup shelled natural pistachio nuts
2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1-teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3-cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 350F

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them for about 5 minutes; watch that they do not burn. Cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.

In a medium size bowl mix the flour and salt and set aside.

In a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very smooth. Add the vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add the cranberries, cherries and nuts and combine on low speed. Slowly blend in the flour and salt.

Gather up the dough and transfer it to a large sheet of wax paper. Pat the dough into a rectangle roughly 4 inches wide and 18 inches long. Use the wax paper to help you roll the dough into a log shape. Neaten the ends and place the wax paper wrapped dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 325F

Remove the wax paper from the log and using a sharp knife slice the log into ¼ inch thick rounds. Or slice thicker rounds if you prefer. Space the cookies about 1-inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies should not brown but remain pale with just a hint of browning around the edges.

Cool on wire racks and grab a cup of coffee, tea or cold milk and enjoy this treat from Mom.

Cookies like shortbread can be made ahead and frozen if well wrapped and sealed in tins, plastic containers or plastic bags.

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