December 18, 2013: Cranberry Roll-Ups


These are a staple in my home every December, and I swear, every year I get better at making them.

Up here in the not-tropolis, our local grocers carry Wisconsin-grown cranberries. So many cranberries. I can’t think what people do with all the cranberries, aside from some cranberry jelly for the holidays. And unless everyone is making these cookies, I’m afraid I still don’t have any answers.

You start out with cranberries, sugar, orange zest (because everything tastes better with orange zest), and some water, and after 15 minutes or so, you have your filling.

Let it cool and make up the dough, which also has to be set aside. When you’re ready, you put it on a silicone mat and roll it. I learned last year that if I want a rectangle in the end, I should start with a rectangle. Except, I didn’t have as much success this year as I did last year.

Oh well. It will still taste good. Spread the filling on top and add the almonds. Then roll it like a jelly roll. Please consult your grandma or great-aunt to find out what that means.

Okay. It basically means this:

Wrap it in plastic wrap and set it in the freezer (or the porch, in my case) for a couple hours. Take it out and cut it up. It will look something like this:

If it starts to get misshapen, turn your roll over or put it back in the freezer.
When they are out of the oven, eat a whole bunch and justify it that there’s fruit in it, and therefore, healthy.

Christmas Cranberry Roll-Up Cookies
(from Gooseberry Patch’s Old-Fashioned Country Cookies)

2 c. fresh cranberries
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. orange peel
1/4 c. finely chopped almonds
2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cardamom. (That’s right! I found another recipe. Suck it, $12.48 worth of a useless spice!)
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla


1. In a saucepan, combine cranberries, 1/4 c. sugar and zest. Add enough water to partially cover. Cook about 15 minutes, or until berries pop and most of the water has evaporated. Cool mixture.

2. Combine flour and spices. Cream butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add flour mixture.

3. Divide dough in half and chill.

4. Roll dough into 12″x7″ rectangle on parchment paper. Spread cranberries and almonds on each rectangle and then roll each like a jelly roll. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for at least 2 hours (at this point it can be frozen.

5. Slice roll into 1/4″ slices and bake 1″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool completely.

Cookies today: 46
Cookies this year: 953 and a batch of mints

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