We were gifted with a huge bag of craisins (i.e. dried cranberries) a while ago. My mind immediately started racing with possibilities for its use: cranberry and white chocolate chunk cookies, plumped up with rum for a fruit cake, and...well, the cranberry and pistachio combo is always a good one! Particularly during the festive season. I mean, just looking at these red and green-studded shortbread rounds conjures up images of Christmas-time.
The most fiddly part in the recipe is making sure the dough doesn't break apart when you slice through the pistachios. Once the dough is made, it is rolled up into logs, wrapped in cling film, and chilled in the fridge for an hour or so, until hard. It is then sliced into discs approximately 1cm thick, arranged onto a baking tray, and stashed into the freezer for a final firming-up. The reason why it is so important to have the dough frozen solid before baking is because of the high butter content of these cookies. If you try baking these right after making up the dough, the cookies will spread and you'll end up with palm-sized mounds, instead of nice shortbread rounds.
I think these would look lovely packaged in clear cellophane bags tied up with a golden ribbon, to be given as party favours or used as table settings. I simply cannot get over how pretty the colours are!
Recipe for Cranberry-Pistachio Shortbread Rounds
Makes 22 cookies, approximately 5cm in diameter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (or 175g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Make the dough by stirring together all the ingredients, until a soft dough forms.
2. Divide the dough in two portions. Roll each portion into a log, and wrap each log with cling film.
3. Place the logs into the fridge and chill for an hour, or until solid.
4. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (or 350 degrees Fahrenheit). Don't put the baking rack too close to the top, because your cookies will burn!
5. Take logs out of the fridge, and slice into round 1 cm thick. Put the dough rounds on a lined baking tray, and stash that away in the freezer for around 15 minutes, or until the dough is frozen solid.
6. When ready to bake, take the tray out of the freezer and put into oven immediately. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Don't wait for the cookies to brown, otherwise the colours won't be as pretty.
7. When done baking, take tray out of the oven. Allow cookies to cool on tray for 5 minutes, before transferring cookies onto a cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely before packing it away in an airtight container (that's if you don't eat them straight away!). Cookies will keep in an airtight container in a cool part of the house for around 5 days.