Welcome to our fifth day of 12 Days of Cookies. In this series, I'm taking one basic butter dough, making it ahead of time, and turning it into 12 different cookies. Today, we're doing a spin on a fruity winter treat, Cranberry Orange Cookies.
Oranges in Winter?
The tradition of incorporating oranges into Christmas desserts dates back centuries, intertwining with the festive tapestry of holiday celebrations. Oranges, once considered exotic and a rare winter treat, became more widely available in Europe during the 19th century. As these bright citrus gems arrived in abundance during the winter months, they quickly found their way into festive desserts. The zesty and aromatic qualities of oranges became symbolic of warmth and abundance during the winter season, making them a natural addition to Christmas fare. From the classic orange-infused Christmas pudding to more modern creations like orange-glazed cookies and cakes, the citrusy burst adds a refreshing and flavorful contrast to the richness of traditional holiday treats. Today, the tradition endures, with oranges continuing to play a cherished role in sweet delights that grace our tables during the most wonderful time of the year.
Candying the Oranges
Candied oranges, with their glossy finish and concentrated citrus flavor, are a delightful treat and a versatile addition to desserts. Follow this simple tutorial to bring a burst of candied sunshine to your kitchen. You can read the directions below or watch this great tutorial on it. Make sure you do this the day before you plan on making these cookies,
- Granulated sugar
1. Prep the Oranges:
- Wash and scrub the oranges thoroughly to remove any wax or impurities. If possible, choose organic oranges for the best flavor.
2. Slice the Oranges:
- Slice the oranges into thin, uniform rounds. Aim for slices about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Remove any seeds as you go.
3. Blanch the Orange Slices:
- Place the orange slices in a saucepan and cover them with water.
- Bring the water to a boil and let the orange slices simmer for about 10 minutes. This helps soften the peel and reduces bitterness.
4. Create Sugar Syrup:
- In a separate sauce pan, combine water and granulated sugar. For every cup of water, use two cups of sugar.
- Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves. This creates a simple syrup.
5. Infuse Oranges with Syrup:
- Remove the blanched orange slices from the water and gently pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Place the orange slices into the sugar syrup, ensuring each slice is coated. Let them simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes to an hour, allowing the oranges to absorb the sweetness.
6. Monitor Consistency:
- Keep an eye on the syrup's consistency. It should gradually thicken, forming a shiny glaze. Adjust the heat as needed.
7. Dry and Cool:
- Using tongs, carefully remove the candied orange slices from the syrup and place them on a wire rack to cool and dry. The glaze will set as they cool.
8. Optional Final Touch:
- For an extra sparkle, you can sprinkle some granulated sugar over the candied orange slices while they're still tacky.
- Once completely cooled, store the candied orange slices in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers. They can be stored at room temperature for several weeks.
Cranberry Orange Cookie Ingredients
- Prep: 40 Minutes
- Cook: 15 Minutes
- Total: 55 Minutes
- Serving: 1 Cookie
- Yield: About 25
- Basic Butter Dough
- 2 Candied Oranges
- 1/4 cup of Dried Cranberries
- 1 tsp Orange Extract
Directions for Cranberry Orange Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350
- Finely chop half of your candied oranges until you have about 1/2 cup.
- Finely chop dried cranberries until you have ¼ cup
- Mix the chopped cranberries and oranges into your dough
- Once combined, roll the dough into a log, wrap it in cling wrap and stick it in your freezer for about 15 minutes
- Remove from freezer and slice cookies to your desired thickness. Mine were a tad less than ¼"
- Transfer sliced cookies to a pre-lined baking sheet
- Take the remaining candied orange slices and cut them into small wedges.
- Place a wedge on each cookie (optional)
- Put the cookies in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack