Cranberry Pecan Shortbread
Or - The Best Cookie You'll Ever Eat!
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature (do NOT use margarine)
2/3 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
2 T cold water
Cream the butter until smooth (about 1 - 2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla. Gently stir in the flour and salt just until incorporated.
Fold in the chopped pecans and dried cranberries and water (Make sure that the nuts and cranberries are evenly distributed throughout the dough).
Divide the dough in half. You might have to knead the dough a bit to get it to stick together – this is a rather dry dough. Place the dough on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Smooth and shape the dough into an evenly shaped log that is about 10 inches long and 2 inches across . Then thoroughly wrap the shaped logs in the waxed paper or plastic wrap, twist the ends of the paper to seal the logs, and chill for at least two hours, or up to three days. (The logs can also be frozen for about two months. If freezing, it is best to defrost the logs in the refrigerator overnight before slicing and baking.)
Preheat oven to 325, with the rack in the center of the oven. Grease pans or use parchment paper.
Using a thin bladed knife ( I used a good thin, finely serrated knife), slice the logs into ¼ thick cookies. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about ½ inch apart – the cookies don't really spread.
Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 48 shortbread cookies. What I like about these cookies, besides they are the best tasting in the world – is that you mix them up one day and then bake them another, when the kitchen is clean and there is no mixing-up-cookie-dough mess.
And I always make a double batch (that is all that will fit in my mixer bowl - if I want more I make a second double batch) - they get eaten quickly.