I wanted to start the new year off right, so I baked you all a batch of cookies! These take a bit more effort than the most basic of cookies, but the resting time in the fridge means you can make the timing work for whatever your schedule is and the results are definitely worth it.
adapted from Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares recipe in Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (8.5 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour [I used 4 oz. whole wheat pastry flour and 4.5 oz all-purpose]
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter [or Earth Balance]
3/4 cup (5.25 oz) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
juice of 2 oranges
1/4 cup (1.75 oz) turbinado or other coarse sugar
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix together with a whisk or fork.
Using mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter with the granulated sugar until smooth and well blended but not fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, orange zest, and cinnamon and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and form each into a rough rectangle shape. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
While oven heats, place dried cranberries in a small bowl and cover with orange juice. Let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature, then drain.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly if needed. On a sheet of plastic wrap, roll lightly floured dough into a rectangle 8.5 x 16.5 inches. (This will be fairly thin.) With a short side facing you, scatter half of the dried cranberries on the bottom half of the dough.
Fold the top half of the dough over the cranberries, using the plastic wrap as a handle. Peel the plastic wrap from the top of the dough. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Flip the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and peel off the remaining plastic wrap. Sprinkle with half of the coarse sugar and pat lightly to make sure the sugar adheres.
Use a heavy knife to trim the edges. Cut into 4 strips and then cut each strip into 4 pieces to make 16 squares. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, cranberries, and sugar.
Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Rotate pans halfway through baking time. Set cookie sheets with finished cookies on racks to cool. Store completely cooled cookies in airtight container up to 1 week.
Makes: 32 cookies
Ginger Lover's Variation: Replace the dried cranberries with finely chopped candied ginger, omit the orange juice, and replace the orange zest with lemon zest.