I am counting down as the days pass by. Five days and "It's Time"! In case you're wondering, I am counting down to the release of Stefanie Sun's album and "It's Time" is the name of her long-waited album, which will land in record stores on 8th March, that is if no mishap occurs. While she is seemingly having a good break these past four years, leading her own life and making preparations for this album, I am baking consientiously in the kitchen and burying myself in baking titles with thick covers.
In the meanwhile before the arrival of the big day, I can only hide my excitment and distract myself by churning out sweet goods. Shortbreads are my preferred choice when it comes to cookies. They are firm, crunchy and buttery, all the requirements I would expect from a cookie. Actually, I am really not that picky. Give me a jar of cookies and I will clear it in no time.
Traditionally, shortbreads are baked in round pans and cut into wedges. However, that will only yield about 10 cookies. Therefore, I prefer to bake my shortbread cookies as icebox cookies, where the cookie dough is being formed into a log, chilled, and then sliced into rounds or squares. If you dislike shaping and cutting out cookies, this is one method you would like to consider.
Let the vibrant colours and fruity flavours charm you with this cranberry shortbread. It is a good choice of cookie to pass to your loved ones and brighten their day up. Just make sure you use a decent brand of butter to impart a nice fragrance to the cookies.
I will be submitting this entry to this month's Aspiring Bakers # 5 - Fruity March hosted by Jess from Bakerious.
Orange Cranberry Shortbread (recipe adapted from Honey & Jam)
Serving size: 40 - 50 cookies
Taste and texture: Crunchy-crumbly.
Equipment and materials:
1) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater or wooden spoon
2) Flour sieve
3) Measuring spoon set
5) Mixing bowls
6) Wire rack
7) Baking trays/ cookie sheets
8) Baking / parchment paper
9) Grater/ zester
205g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
105g icing sugar
finely grated zests of 2 oranges
90g chopped dried cranberries
270g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
Making the Cookies:
Preheat oven - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Mix dry ingredients - Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir with a balloon whisk to distribute them evenly.
Cream butter - Beat the butter, icing sugar and orange zests on medium speed for 2 minutes until butter mixture is fluffy. The butter need not be as well-creamed as that for making cakes.
Making the cookie dough - Stir in flour mixture and beat on low speed to combine butter mixture and flour briefly. Stop once the dough starts to comes together. Scrape and fold in any stray flour with a spatula. Next, fold in the chopped cranberries.
Divde dough into two equal portions. Place dough onto baking/parchment paper and roll the dough into a 1 inch (2.5cm) round/square log. Refrigerate or freeze until log is firm. Slice the log into rounds/squares of about 1 cm thickness.
Baking the cookies - Place rounds onto baking trays lined with baking/parchment paper, leaving some space between each cookie. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Once done, the cookies should be firm to the touch and will firm up further upon cooling. Leave cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in air-tight containers.
1) If cookies do not firm up well after cooling. It means they are underbaked. Fret not. Simply return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes, then allow to cool.
2) When cookies are cooled, pressing into the cookies will not yield any dents/ imprints.
3) Use good butter to impart good flavour to the cookies.
4) Do a test batch of 3 or 4 cookies to test the baking time.