Dreaming of a White Christmas Cookie

When hungry, Bing Crosby dreamed of a White Christmas… Cookie… just like the ones he used to know ;)  As I wrote this, I realized there may actually be people reading it that don’t know who Bing Crosby is.  It frightens me to think that there may actually be people reading this that have never seen the classic feature film, White Christmas (1954).  If this applies to you, please, pause from your bloggy needs and take a few minutes to Google each.  Heck, take 90 minutes and just watch the movie.  These are the actors, the singers and the films that are capable of making us fall in love with this ridiculously hectic season, year after year.

Just like the film and Mr. Crosby’s elegant voice, these cranberry-orange shortbread cookies are mandatory treats for the Christmas season.  When I daydream about all of the delicious goodies of this time of year, I think of my turkey dinner and how I load the plate with homemade cranberry sauce.  I think of the excitement my girls and I have when the grocery store starts to stock boxes of tangerines and mandarins and I think about these cookies.  I just love the compliments of tart dried cranberries with the sweetness of fresh orange rind, all wrapped up in a buttery, crunchy shortbread package.  Topped with spoonfuls of white chocolate, these cookies not only define classic holiday treats, they look the part too.

Santa, snow covered evergreens and piles of Ontario dried cranberries on my cutting board.. these are the visions of a merry Christmas.

I’ve packed these beauties and shipped them off to 3 talented food bloggers as part of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011.  This event is an excellent idea, hosted by food blogs Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen.  The premise is food bloggers across Canada and the U.S. sign up and receive the addresses of three other food bloggers.  You send each one dozen delicious homemade cookies and, in the coming weeks, you receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies yourself.  As I’m doing now, you post your cookie recipe on your blog and all of these involved food bloggers can review, share & inspire one another.

I shipped my 3 boxes last week and am anxiously awaiting confirmation that they’ve been received and weren’t too banged up by the postal service.  The whole exercise has been a lot of fun, meeting fellow food-fanatics often is, but it’s also a little intimidating.  Shipping homemade baked goods to a complete stranger, especially one that has a public forum that discusses the food they eat… I just hope my 3 recipients enjoy these Christmas cookies as much as my family and I do.

These White Christmas Cookies taste great, are easy to make and can actually be prepared in the days of September. Yes, you can prepare the dough, wrap it tight in parchment paper and plastic wrap and freeze it up to 4 whole months without compromising the taste and texture of the crumb. How's that for a time saver when you need it the most?!

White Christmas Cookie
Inspired by MarthaStewart.com
Makes about 36 cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange zest (2 large oranges)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces white chocolate (I use Baker’s Premium White Chocolate Squares)
  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour, mixing just until a dough forms. Stir in dried cranberries and orange zest.
  2. Divide dough in half; place each half on a piece of floured parchment paper. With floured hands, gently roll each into a 1 1/2-inch-diameter log.  Dividing evenly, rolling log and pressing in gently. Wrap logs tightly in the paper, and refrigerate until firm, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (To store longer, wrap log and paper tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for up to 4 months.)
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Unwrap logs and let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly.  With a sharp knife, slice dough 3/8 inch thick.
  4. Arrange slices, about 1 inch apart, on greased or parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Chop white chocolate squares into small pieces.  Using a heavy saucepan or double broiler, melt white chocolate gently on a low heat, stirring constantly.  You can melt with a microwave by adding to a microwave-safe bowl and heating for 30 seconds at a time, stir and return to microwave for up to 2 minutes.
  7. Have your cooled cookies lined on the recycled parchment paper.  Using a standard kitchen spoon, quickly place a dollop of the melted white chocolate on each cookie.  Be speedy, white chocolate hardens quickly.

White chocolate scorches easily, so cook it gently. Bars usually taste better than chips. Avoid white chocolate that's made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, it's cheaper but tastes artificial and isn't nearly as good. You are looking for white chocolate with an ivory hue, the really white stuff is what you want to avoid.

This shortbread recipe is so versatile. Great tasting all on it's own or with personal flavour accents. You can add candied ginger, poppy seeds, lemon zest, peanut butter, crushed nuts, or even chocolate chips. If gifting, like I am, be sure to save a few for yourself and then quickly wrap the rest up tightly: 2 layers of tape and some ribbon. The temptation to gorge is strong with these ones.

I purchased these classy Martha Stewart gift boxes from a local Michael's Crafts store. I'm usually more inclined to take a DIY approach but I decided to splurge a little, hoping to impress my new foodie friends.

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    These were amazing! My husband and I ate all of them this weekend …..some many needed trips to the gym will be required this weekend!! Thank you so much :)

  2. 3

    Stephanie says

    Somehow I missed this post last week. I’m sure the bloggers will love the cookies, how could they not?? They were packed so beautifully, too.

  3. 6

    Emily says

    I just made these in preparation for christmas- SO GOOD! My whole family already agreed they’re going to become a christmas cookie staple in our house

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