Monday, April 25, 2011

Colorful cookies

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, yesterday.  Remember these?  I made them again yesterday.  SO pretty!!

I'm going to briefly veer away from my Costa Rica recap and head back to the reason I originally started this blog: to talk about food!  Baking in particular!  You all know I love tea.  I. Love. Tea.  I'm not talking about a good ole cup of Earl Grey, but afternoon tea and all the frilly girlie goodness that goes along with it: silver, china, tablecloths, cloth napkins, finger sandwiches, lemon curd, scones, sugar cubes, clotted cream, petit fours...  Frequently you'll also find cookies served at the end of afternoon tea, along with the petit fours (or in lieu of).  I'm hot and cold about cookies in general.  I know that sounds crazy since I'm a baker.  But bakers don't have to love everything they bake...  I mean, I don't even love eating my own macarons!  (I know - I know... there's something wrong with me).
Cranberry tea cookies with.... tea!
However, these cranberry tea cookies are ridiculous.  I can't stop eating them.  In fact, I think I can't make them anymore because I will NOT STOP EATING them.  To make matters worse, they're super easy to make.  So combine easy-to-make with delicious and you're in a dangerous spot.

It's kinda crazy how good these cookies are - especially for how simple they are to make
I'm not sure why I don't love cookies.  I also don't love cake - but I guess that's another blog post...  Cookies are boring to me, maybe.  They're not always very pretty - even when they taste great.  I think cookies are frequently done poorly too - especially homemade ones.  OK, ok... I know - now I'm just getting snobby.  But it seems people so often over-bake cookies that I just no longer trust I'm gonna get a tasty morsel when I'm offered one.  Instead, by default - I always turn them down. *sigh*
I ate all of these after I took this photo... seriously.
OK, so less tooting of the horn and more discussion on the blog post topic, yes?  The cranberry tea cookies.  These are technically called Cranberry Noel Cookies and I believe the original recipe has coconut in it.  Um, no thanks.  With a name like cranberry NOEL cookies - these are really a Christmas cookie.  But I love them.  And I wanted some in April.  So I'm calling them Cranberry Tea Cookies.  Problem solved.

Of course you can eat these cookies with coffee instead of tea.  Or a glass of milk.  Or like I do, out of the cookie jar with no accompanying beverage.

The original recipe doesn't call for this - but I thought it was a nice touch
I decided to make a little change to the original recipe which was given to us by a family friend... I roll the edges of the cookies in sugar before baking.  I originally did this because I thought I'd been a bit too generous with my cranberries and nuts in one batch and made the cookies not-sweet-enough.  So I rolled them in granulated sugar.  I loved how they turned out though; the sugar made them sparkle and the little crunch it added was very lovely.  I continue to roll them in sugar whether I'm heavy handed with the accouterments, or not!

Want the recipe?  I know you do...

Cranberry Noel Tea Cookies
Makes 35-40 cookies

2-4 oz sticks salted butter at room temperature (8 oz total)
1/2 cup sugar
2 T milk or cream
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 c chopped pecans
3/4 c chopped dried cranberries
1/4 c extra sugar

Cream butter and sugar til fluffy. Add milk and vanilla - mix. Add flour and salt - mix well.  It might seem crumbly at this point but if you keep blending it will come together eventually.  Add the cranberries and pecans.

Add cranberries and pecans...
Roll into 2 logs about 8 x 1 1/2".  Wrap and chill for 2 hours in the fridge.  I've also put them in the freezer for 30-60 minutes and this works the same way.  You just want it to be firm enough to cut without misshaping the round cookie.

Roll into logs
Wrap and chill for 2 hours
Slice cookies about 1/4" thick.  Roll edges of cookie in sugar (if you want.  But I highly recommend!)

Place on lightly greased cookie sheets, or Silpats. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.  DON'T OVER-BAKE (well, unless you like hard hockey puck type cookies...)

Place on cookie sheet
Eat.  Eat more.  Eat a few more.  Give some to friends - wait, just kidding.


  1. a delicious lisa endorsement that's easy enough for even *ME* to make? dangerous... very dangerous... ;)

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  3. These look lovely, Lisa!! I love cookies like this :) Would you mind if I made up a batch and put them on my foodie blog with a link back to your site? Thx, Linda @ Lemon Drop

  4. Linda: sure thing! What is on my blog is out there for everyone to share! :)

  5. Oh, I'm making these for sure!! Beautiful photos -

  6. Hi Lisa, Thanks for a cookie recipe without eggs - my son is allergic and I've had a hard time finding non-egg baked goods. Anyway, I made these today and they were delicious. But out of 1 log, I only got 5 round-shaped cookies. The others crumbled (in half or more) when I cut them. :( What did I do wrong?

  7. Hi Jen,

    Hhhmmmm..... Here are a few things I can think of:
    1) make sure your butter is very soft when you're first mixing the cookies - so that the batter is very well mixed.
    2) when you form it into a log - squeeze it very tight. Make sure the log is very firm - really pack it together like you're molding clay. This is *probably* where you went wrong?
    3) be sure the dough is almost hard when you start cutting it. The harder/colder it is, the easier it will be to cut straight through without crushing/mis-shaping or crumbling the cookies as you cut.
    4) if they crumble as you cut them - could you mush them back together in a round shape?

    I really can't think of anything else since this has never happened to me. But maybe try incorporating these and see how it goes?

    Here is another egg-less cookie recipe. It's almost the exact same cookie except with the small differences, they do taste quite different:

  8. Thanks Lisa. I think the problem was #2 with a little of #1. The butter was not cold, but was not very soft either. On #4, I could not push them back together to re-form a circle, but the "scraps" were delicious anyway! I used walnuts and will try them with almonds next time. Thanks again!

  9. I thought these were delicious! Kind of like a cranberry pecan shortbread. Perfect for tea!

  10. These sound and look delicious. I live in England but am going to try this using Craisins.

    1. Could you please tell me how many oz. 2 sticks of butter is?
    2. Flour - plain or self-rising?

    Thank you!


  11. They ARE delicious!

    A "stick" of butter is 4 oz. (so 8 oz. total in this recipe) and just all purpose flour - not self rising.

  12. Hi Lisa, I had tried this cookies....really delicious!
    however, i have few problems just wonder you know where i did wrong.

    i have replaced cranberries with blackcurrant and i d't put in pecans. i cannot make up the log as the dough is too soft, thus i add in extra 50gm flour and finally the log is able to rolled up.
    after the cookies baked, i let it cool down on the baking tray, while i am try to move out the cookies, the blackcurrant is stick on the parchment paper.

  13. My trader joes has orange infused cranberrys, wow are they good in this cookie recipe! Thanx so much for sharing

  14. You could also use this as a pie crust. Just press in the pan and bake. If you have ever had a 4 layer delight which has butter flour and nuts as the crust. Just a thought. I like to see how to use recipes in different ways.

  15. Has anyone tried to make without the nuts? (allergies) Just wondering how they taste? thanks! Kim

  16. Love this recipe, made it the original way then made it with dried tart cherries and pecans, then dried blueberries and chopped almonds, not my favorite, but everyone else loved them, then I did a special request dried tart cherries and miniature semi sweet chocolate chips, also yum.

  17. Hi
    Can you tell me how many grams is a stick?

  18. Hi Danoush, it's about 112 grams of salted butter in 1 stick.

  19. Could this recipe be made gluten free? I have a family member that can't eat regular flour. Was wondering if soy flour or rice flour could be used to replace regular flour.

    1. i've tried it with gluten free with a mix of baking soda and rice flour and almond meal they're a little denser but still good

  20. Hi Jessie, I've never made these with anything other than regular all purpose flour - but please try it out and let us know in the comments? I haven't done much baking with gluten-free alternatives but would still love to know how they could turn out if I needed to someday.

  21. I made these and I love them! They taste so good. Unfortunately, I couldn't eat more than one because I'm taking them to a ladies function tomorrow. :( Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! This will be one of my holiday favorites.

  22. I plan on making these for a cookie exchange, but there is a nut-allergy. Do you think I could sub the pecans for chocolate chips?

  23. Hi Kristin, sure I would say you could put anything in and try it! I'm not sure if you could have problems cutting through the chocolate chips when you slice them into the cookies though...? You could just leave the nuts out all together and keep only the cranberries (or add a little sweetened coconut like I think the original recipe calls for).

  24. I'm looking to give frozen cookie dough as gifts to my neighbors this year. Do you think this would freeze well for them to bake at a later date? It would look cute if I formed a log, froze it and tied off ends with ribbons, I think! :)

  25. Freezing the log would definitely be just fine! The dough freezes beautifully. And even better, your neighbors don't have to let it fully thaw before they start slicing it into cookies!

  26. Thanks for the quick response, Lisa! Another question - recipe says salted butter, is that right?

  27. Yes, salted butter. I'm guessing the original recipe called for margarine which is kinda out of style now :) You could also do unsalted with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon additional salt per stick of butter.

  28. I found this recipe on Pinterest. I wanted to make them and blog about them, as I love this type of icebox cookie. I've been anxious to try these for 3 days will happen tomorrow. I hope. :) Thanks for sharing.

  29. I had a hard trying to figure out how much butter was to be used. It stick of butter is 4 oz. 2 sticks is 8 oz. So 4 sticks is 16oz. Well I used 4 sticks of butter...because according to your recipe it says 2-8oz sticks of butter. Which would bring it to 16 oz. What a disaster..... they are oily and thin. Nothing like the picture. I was really looking forward to these...did I read this wrong for the butter? How many oz. Total are you supposed to use? I really want to try again....ugh

  30. ACK!! You're right - so sorry Cassandra! That was a typo (and I had JUST changed the recipe since it originally said "2 sticks of butter" and people kept asking me how much that was. So I wrote in the ounces, and with my typo, just made it worse!) It's supposed to be 8 ounces TOTAL. Each stick is 4 ounces. I have it fixed now.

  31. Thank you for clarifying. ?.I will try again tomorrow....they look really good and I cant just give up....when I was putting the 4 sticks in I was thinking...."this is a heart attack waiting to happen". I will let you know tomorrow how they turn out...thank you again

  32. Definitely going to try these! Not in the mood for cranberries??? Try dried apricots! Also, perhaps 2/3 cup white chocolate chips in the batter would eliminate the need for rolling in sugar? Just a thought.....

  33. Loved this recipe. First batch I cut at the 1/4 inch and they crumbled way to easily. Second batch cut at about 1/2 which looks more like your picture and they are perfect. I 1/2 dipped in melted chocolate and let set and it turned out delicious!

  34. thank you for sharing,I've taken down the recipe. will certainly be making some of these.

  35. These look great! Thoughts on how best to veganize them? Suggestions for the room temp butter and milk/cream swaps? Wasn't sure if earth balance/margarine would be better vs. an oil like coconut or canola, and if you think soy, almond, or coconut milk would make for the right texture there. Thanks!

  36. I love cranberry and orange together so I would add the cranberry flavored Craisins that someone mentioned and also some orange zest. Yum!


  38. I took these to a potluck and they were a huge hit! Everyone commented on how the cookie is not too sweet or too rich and took several. Thanks for a lovely recipe!

  39. Tried it. Great! Tried it again with walnuts and dates instead of pecan/cran. Almost as good. Almost.