December 11: Christmas Cranberry Roll-Up Cookies

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These are great cookies to make if you have some other stuff to get done around the house. Or, conversely, if you need something quick, you might want to plan on a different cookie.

I love these cookies. The red of the cranberry is so pretty in the pinwheel, and the dough is the right consistency of flaky and chewy.

Plus, and this is my favorite part, people look at them and assume they are a lot harder to make than they actually are. (I just keep thinking of that Rice Krispies commercial from when I was a kid with the mom in the kitchen, working “hard” at making the Rice Krispies Treats, and at then end, she throws a little flour on her face for effect.)

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I had a bag of Wisconsin’s finest bouncy cranberries in my fridge, just waiting for their ultimate death. I put two cups of berries in a saucepan, along with sugar and orange zest.

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(I bought this microplane last year for nutmeg. Haven’t used it with nutmeg once, but this thing has seen more citrus fruit than Carmen Miranda.)

A little water and time, and I was in business. Cranberries popping sound a lot like baby farts, in case you want to know.

I mixed up my dough in Ol’ Trusty, using the Cardamom I bought two years ago. Am I supposed to replace it? Does Cardamom go bad? It still smells like chai and cost me a kidney, so I’m going to keep using it until the bottle is empty.

Into the fridge the dough went for an hour or so.

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When it was ready, I pulled it out and tried my best to roll rectangles. Eh. Okay, I really didn’t try that hard.

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Then I spread the cranberry goodness on top, along with some crushed almonds. Roll like a jelly roll, wrap with saran wrap. Repeat with second wad of dough.

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I put them on a cookie sheet and set it in my Wisconsin Free Refrigerator–my front porch.

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Two hours later, I brought the tray back inside and sliced up the rolls in 1/4″ pieces. When it starts to get misshapen, just turn your log over. Or, do what I do and keep the ugly ones so you can eat those later.

Into the oven it goes for 11-12 minutes, and cools on a rack.

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Then, you eat the ugly ones.

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
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

Directions:

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 (These also made 46 last year too. Weird.)

Cookies this year: 513