Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

The past few Decembers, (8!) but who's counting ;) I have been blogging recipes about gluten and dairy-free Christmas cookies. And this month is no different- it's like once the Christmas tree is up and the snow starts falling all that I want to do is bake Christmas cookies and read stories by the hue of the magical lights. And these are just about the best of the best for that...
These perfect little cookies were born by chance at finding these lovely already diced and minced dried cranberries at my local market and at first sight it was love. I already dreamt up these cookies in my mind before I checked out of the store! I was thinking they would be the perfect flavors and colors for a Christmas cut-out cookie and goodness gracious- the result proved to be fabulous!

And then... I added some melted chocolate to some of them... whoa whoa whoa! Now the cookies are good and I feel like I could eat them with tea at just about any time of the day, but when you add that orange flavor infused chocolate- now that just feels fancy! A dessert really. Can a cookie be a dessert? Definitely at Christmas time ;) 
But mostly, I just love making the cookies, the varieties, the traditions, the flavors, the colors. It is all just magical and joyous! We have been talking alot about hope and joy at our house the past few weeks, and the kids and I agreed- that making Christmas cookies is one of the best ways to have and share the Christmas joy with others. I love teaching my littles that the beauty of Christmas is actually in the hope, joy, peace and love that we share. That is actually where the magic is, and these cookies are just a picture of that love that we share, and enjoy and give away. So... I hope you are enjoying some Christmas cookie making this December- get ready- I am about to share a few more in the next week ;) Happy baking and happy sharing joy!
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookie Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and refined-sugar free}

3/4 cup of certified gluten-free oat flour
(I grind my own out of rolled oats)
3/4 cup of fresh ground buckwheat four
3/4 cup of rice flour
3/4 cup of tapioca flour
1/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
2 TB of potato starch
1 1/2 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. baking powder
1 organic orange for 3-TB of fresh zest and 1/2 cup of fresh juice
1 TB of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of maple syrup or honey
1 cup of oil: I use a mix of coconut oil and palm oil shortening
1/2 cup of date paste puree

In a large bowl, mix together the flours and dry ingredients first, then add in the wet and oils, use a spatula to make sure the oils are evenly pressed through and the batter is soft. Then add in.. 

(PLUS ONE MORE CUP of GF oat flour added at the end for firming up and rolling out)
and 1 cup of finely chopped dried cranberries (you can use or more or less for preference!)

Roll all together and let sit in the fridge to firm up just a bit, like 15 minutes. Then roll out and cut out the cookies with your favorite cutters. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Let cool for at least 20 minutes from the oven before moving to help with less breakage.

They are also fun to use the cut-out cutters, but you could easily spread this batter out with a rolling pin in a 12x15 pan and pre-slice 3x3 or 3x2 cookie squares before baking for about 20-30 minutes at 350.  They are a play on Scottish or Irish shortbread squares. They would look a bit more simple, but the flavors and red popping out would make them just as wonderful. I might have tried that first if it wasn't December- and when I have little ones that want to use the Christmas shapes all day every day, you appease them.
You could also top with some melted chocolate that is infused with some orange flavoring, or some sweet orange essential oil that is made to eat. I melted 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water and then dropped a few drops of orange flavoring in it. It only amplifies the orange flavors! One of the most classic flavor combos- chocolate and orange- I can't resist!
You can use a special frosting pouch and decorator if you want to get even and fancy lines on the cookies, or you can do a rustic job as I did this go around and trace the shapes and fill in the middles. Once the chocolate dries- it will be stiff and hard like a chocolate bar. 

End result is fabulous! I love a little bitter sweet chocolate with a chewy cranberry crunch all smothered in a citrusy orange infusion! These cookies are also easy to make ahead of Christmas and freeze and pull out here and there for parties and gatherings. That is if you really want to make and wait to eat them ;) They are so yummy you will find yourself going back for more and then thinking about them in January when you decided to tighten up the sweets and goodies in your life ;)

But for NOW... ENJOY and happy baking friends, sending love, hope, joy and peace xoxo

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