Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Little Cookie For Christmas

It has definitely been a bit of a hectic week, and Christmas this year has not disappointed when it comes to stress.  This time of year I have to say for me is a double edged sword, since I do LOVE Christmas but hate all the stress and preparation for Christmas.  My husband likes to say that I can be a bit of a Grinch, but when I get all my present buying, cooking, and mailing done I think I am just as Christmasy as anyone.  This whirlwind of activity, especially since I am a bit of a procrastinator, has caused me to loose track of other things going on in my life. 

Case in point, last night, when I finally had a chance to sit down for five seconds I realized that I had not posted ANYTHING this week (bad, bad, blogger).  Needless to say, I panicked a little, and thank goodness I had this cookie recipe on the back burner (one of the only signs of organization in my life).  The inspiration for this little cookie actually came from fruitcake, which I am not a fan of (I don't think I am alone with this one).  But there is something great about some of the flavors of fruit cake, and I wanted to use some of those flavors on a little bit of a more simplistic level, a.k.a no weird, strange looking, boozy fruit.  I also wanted to utilize one of my favorite yummy things, pistachios, which always make me think of Christmas.  But unfortunately the thought of pistachios diverted me, and all I could think of was baklava (YUMM).  Now I found myself drifting from the fruitcake theme to a baklava theme.  So in an attempt to remain focused on my original idea, these cookies ended up being a mishmash of fruitcake, baklava, and a sugar cookie, and therefore to me, very representative of my crazy life as I know it right now.  So this cookie recipe might sound strange but judging by how fast my husband's co-workers ate them I think they were good.  Here's to a crazy Christmas!

Honey, Cranberry and Pistachio Cookies

Cook Time: 1 hour

3/4 pistachios
3/4 dried cranberries
2/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
2 tablespoons orange zest
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)

2-1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
4oz melted white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large food processor chop the pistachios and cranberries until finely chopped.  Add the remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly combined.  Set aside while you prepare the dough. 

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and the salt and set aside.  In a large separate bowl the mix the sugar and butter until combined.  Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and zest and mix.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Gather the dough together and flatten into a disk.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a well floured surface.  Divide the disk into four portions.  Roll each portion out into a 10-inch long and 8-inch wide rectangle, or until the dough is about 1/4 of an inch thick.  If the dough cracks just moisten your fingertips with a little water to seal it.  Spoon a long line of filling down the center of each rectangle, leaving about a half an inch on each end.  Roll the dough up around the filling, making sure the finished roll is seam side down.  Trim the ends at an angle and then slice the roll in one inch slices with a well floured knife. 

Place each slice on parchment lined cookie sheets.  Cook the cookies for about 10 minutes or until they are slightly browned on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.  Then place cookies on rack and cool completely.

Once the cookies are cool, drizzle with the melted white chocolate.  When the chocolate sets they are ready to serve!  Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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