Tart and sassy cranberry lemondrop cookies

This tart and sassy cranberry lemondrop cookies recipe was one of the winners of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s 2014 Taste Holiday Cookie Contest, which received entries from bakers across Minnesota.

Tart and sassy cranberry lemondrop cookies recipe

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. Cookie recipe from finalist Janet Heirigs of Minneapolis.

Ingredients for dough

Tart and sassy cranberry lemon drop cookies3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest from 2 large lemons
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1-3/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
12 tbsp. (1-1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for icing

1 tbsp. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest from 1 lemon
1 to 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Dried cranberries
15 lemon drop candies, crushed

Directions

To prepare dough: In food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine granulated sugar, zest from 2 lemons and 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and process until thoroughly incorporated, about 30 to 45 seconds. Add pecans and process an additional 15 seconds.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and combine with 10 (1-second) pulses. Scatter cold butter pieces on top of sugar-flour mixture and pulse for 15 (1-second) pulses.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. With food processor running, add egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, until dough begins to form into a ball, about 10 to 15 seconds.

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Remove dough from food processor and divide in half. Place both balls of dough between sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and roll dough into 1-1/2-inch-thick logs. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.



Slice dough into rounds about 3/8-inch thick. Place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until centers of cookies begin to color and edges are a light golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare icing: In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, combine cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, zest from 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (adding more, if necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time) and mix until smooth. Transfer icing to a piping bag fitted with a small tip. Squeeze about 1/2 teaspoon of icing onto the center of the cookie, top with 2 to 3 dried cranberries and sprinkle tops of cookies with crushed lemon drops.

Note: To toast pecans, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. Remove from oven and cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies



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