The four vintage Christmas Apron winners (chosen with the random number generator) are:
Bonnie from From a Writer's Kitchen
Teresa from A Blog About Food
Stevie from Weird Combinations
Susan from Schnitzel and the Trout
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My second cookie for this holiday season is a lovely ribbon cookie. Fairly easy to make, pretty to look at and delicious to eat. The layers of a vanilla almond shortbread-like dough sandwiched in between the tangy cranberry and cherry filling makes this cookie a perfect foil to the holiday chocolate and spice cookies on your tea tray. They keep beautifully in your cookie jar, if indeed they don't disappear in a day! And they make super hostess gifts too. This was my first time making these ribbon cookies but I'll be making them a few more times this season.
Bench notes: next time I'll trim them better so the corners look neater (I hated wasting the dough by trimming too much) and because it's such a large cookie, I'll cut the dough slices in half before baking. If you do that, keep your eye on the cooking time.
I'll also try to get the cranberry-cherry layer more even. Practice makes perfect, so take advantage of my mistakes!
Cranberry-Cherry Icebox Ribbons
From Nancy Baggett’s The All-American Cookie Book
About 3 ounces dried cranberries
Generous 1/3 cup sour cherry preserves
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
For the filling:
Combine the cranberries, cherry preserves, and sugar in a food processor. Process until coarsely pureed.
Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring to avoid burning, until the mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and add almond extract. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
For the dough:
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and blend together until smooth and creamy.
Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Let the dough stand for about 10 minutes to let it firm up.
Line a 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch loaf pan with foil, letting the foil overhang the long sides so you can easily remove the dough from the pan. On top of the foil, line the pan with two sheets of plastic wrap laid crosswise and overhanging the longer sides as well.
Divide the dough into quarters. Shape one portion into roughly the size of the loaf pan ( pre-shaping each layer is an important step and will make it easier to layer the cookie) and pat into the bottom. It may even help to have a dough tamper to get the dough in evenly. Spread one-third of the cranberry filling over the dough with a small spatula. Repeat with the remaining three portions of dough and two portions of filling.
Fold the plastic wrap over the dough, completely covering it. Freeze the dough in the pan for at least 1 1/2 hours, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with baking paper.
Take the loaf out of the freezer and unwrap the dough. You can allow it to warm up a bit for a few minutes, but don't let it get too soft or it will be difficult to cut neat slices and the filling will start squishing out.
Using a sharp knife, trim the sides so that the sides of the loaf are straight up and down. Wipe the knife off between cuts. Cut the loaf into thirds on its long side. Cut each third into 1/4 inch slices that are about 2 3/4 inches long. Transfer the slices carefully to the baking sheets, placing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake one sheet at a time for about 9 to 14 minutes, until the edges are just starting to darken and firm up. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let them cool completely.
Store cookies between layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 1 week.