Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies

This was another cookie recipe I tried during Xmas, and I loved them! The combination of Pistachios and Cranberries go so well with the xmas theme! I would love to try making biscotti with these ingredients. Put this in my list for the following xmas??? :)

These cookies are so glittery looking with the red and green specks, and it just makes it look so festive!! I got this recipe from Gourmet Magazine, where they did an article on the featured cookies every year in the month of December, right from 1941!!! Impressive isnt it!!? I was so blown away with the entire cookie collection!! I hope to try each and every one of them some day !! :))


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (2 1/4 oz; not dyed red)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (1 1/4 oz)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup decorative sugar (preferably coarse)


Make dough:

Stir together flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until dough just comes together in clumps, then mix in pistachios and cranberries. Gather and press dough together, then divide into 2 equal pieces. Using a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper as an aid, form each piece of dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Square off long sides of each log to form a bar, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until very firm, at least 2 hours.

Slice and bake cookies:

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Brush egg over all 4 long sides of bars (but not ends). Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well.
Cut each bar crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, rotating bar after cutting each slice to help keep square shape. (If dough gets too soft to slice, freeze bars briefly until firm.) Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies from parchment to racks using a slotted spatula and cool completely.

Cooks’ notes:
Dough bars can be chilled up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil, 1 month (thaw frozen dough in refrigerator just until dough can be sliced).
Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.

Star Anise Cookies

I have been wanting to try making cookies with anise as the ingredient and what better time to try them than Xmas! This was another of the cookies that I baked for Xmas, turned out great! I loved the smell and the flavor of anise, especially when the cookies are baking. The smell is divine!! In this recipe, they use sugar to coat the cookies, I used colored sugar to coat it. Gives it a real nice color and touch :)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 teaspoon aniseed, toasted


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into small bowl. Beat butter and 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl until light. Beat in egg yolk, brandy and aniseed. Add dry ingredients and beat just until smooth dough forms. Spread remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on small plate.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Gather scraps, reroll on lightly floured surface and cut out more cookies.

Place cookies 1 at a time on sugar on plate; transfer cookies, sugar side up, to 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake cookies until bottom and edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack; cool. (Cookies can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)