Tart cookies for a sweet holiday | VailDaily.com

Tart cookies for a sweet holiday

Daily Staff ReportVail CO, Colorado
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

Editor’s Note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. This time of year asks a lot of us: send out holiday cards, find the perfect gifts for our family and friends, wrap them, get them mailed, put up the tree, decorate the house, and have wonderful things to nibble available at the drop of a hat. The list goes on…and on…and on. While I can’t help with all of these expectations, this recipe should aid in meeting one of them. It’s for a pretty, cake-like cookie with tastes that are strongly associated with the holidays: tart cranberries complemented by sweet orange marmalade and a melt-in-you-mouth vanilla glaze. Put these little morsels on a cookie tray, either on their own or with a few other pastries, and know that you’re on your way to meeting the demands of December.While it certainly fits the season, you don’t need to limit your use of this recipe to Christmastime. You’ll find that the light, pleasant taste and tender texture of these orange cranberry squares work well for almost any occasion.This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9X13 inch baking pan.Orange cranberry squaresAdjusted for altitudes from 8,000 to 10,000 feet.

Bake in an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan.Ingredients 12 cup of dried cranberries34 cup of all-purpose flour14 teaspoon of baking powder14 teaspoon of salt3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature14 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar, preferably superfine1 egg, at room temperature14 cup plus 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade, at room temperature

Glaze1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted1 teaspoon of vanilla 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, slightly warm or at room temperature 112 cups of confectioners’ sugar1 pinch of saltPreheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position.Line your baking pan with non-stick Reynold’s Release aluminum foil or regular aluminum foil. Let two ends of the foil hang over the edges of the pan by an inch or two so you can use it to lift the baked cake out of the pan. If using regular foil, grease and flour it or spray it with a vegetable oil-flour spray and spread the spray evenly over the pan with a paper towel. Plump the dried cranberries: Put them in a small saucepan and cover them with water. Simmer them for about 5-7 minutes, until they are very soft. Drain them and pat them dry with paper towels.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to aerate and mix well. Set the bowl aside.With an electric mixer or by hand, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the room-temperature egg and mix until combined. Add the room-temperature marmalade and beat well. Make sure both the egg and the marmalade are at room temperature or they may cool and re-solidify the creamed butter.Add the flour mixture gradually, blending thoroughly after each addition. Stir in the cranberries.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, level it and smooth the top.Bake until the top is golden and a tester inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Start checking after about 25 minutes in the oven.Cool completely on a wire rack.Make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix the melted butter, vanilla and slightly warm or room temperature cream until well combined. Gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Once the glaze reaches a consistency that is somewhat thickened but will still pour and spread easily, beat it for several more minutes to make it very smooth and assure that the sugar is completely dissolved. If necessary, add more cream or more sugar to maintain the correct consistency.Spread the glaze evenly over the baked pastry. Let the glaze set by refrigerating the pan or by letting it sit at room temperature.When the glaze is set, lift the uncut pastry out of the pan by the foil handles. Gently flatten the foil so the sides of the pastry are exposed. Use a sharp knife to cut it into squares, wiping the knife clean between each cut. This recipe is an adaptation of one in The Four-Sided Cookie, by Lorraine BodgerVera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about this column or your baking questions at veradawson@aol.com.

Support Local Journalism