Thursday, December 16, 2010

There's an exception to every rule

The Holiday Cookie Extravaganza continues!

As a rule, I don't use alot of baking mixes.  I mean, once you go to the trouble of buying the flour, sugar, baking soda, etc., you might as well just bake from scratch.  It's easy enough, and have you read the ingredient list to a packaged baking item lately?  It's an absolute chemistry experiment.  Hydrogenated palm oil does not make anything taste better.

But of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  One is these cookies, which start with a package of pre-mixed sugar cookie mix.  They're really, really good, and super elegant looking.  There's something about a wedge shaped cookie that just looks fancy and festive.   And, they are REALLY fast and easy.  So if you need a festive looking cookie in a hurry, this is the recipe for you.


1 17.5 package sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (6 oz.) dried cranberries
3/4 cup sliced almonds (one small package, about 2 oz)
1/4 cup milk or cream
About 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2  round cake pans (the 9" size) with foil.
Place the sugar cookie mix in food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade.    Cut the butter into a few pieces and place on top.
Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
(If you don't have a food processor, you can just cut in the butter by hand with a pastry blender).

It will look a little dry and crumbly.

  Dump into a large bowl and stir in the cranberries.
Divide the mixture between the two prepared cake pans.  Press firmly to pack it down onto the pans.  Brush the tops with milk, sprinkle with the almonds, and sprinkle with the sugar (use about 2 teaspoons per pan).

Bake 18-20 minutes until centers are set and tops are lightly browned.

 Cool in pans, then use the foil to lift the cookies out of the pans.
I wrapped the whole cookies in foil to freeze and use later.  But to serve right away, cut each round into 16 wedges.

In other news, I finished the Bohemian Baby quilt.  It sold, and quickly!  A friend at work has a Hippie Artist relative who is expecting, so it will be a gift for their baby.  That was exactly my target customer for this quilt, so I was pretty happy about that.  And I have another, similar one in the works as well.

My last busy weekend of the holiday season starts tomorrow.  Between tomorrow and Sunday I will rehearse The Nutcracker ballet, perform The Nutcracker ballet 3 times, and perform the Christmas portion of Handel's "Messiah" twice.  That's alot of notes in 3 days.  But then it's no orchestra work at all for 2 weeks, and just one short church job Christmas eve.  So I just need to get through this weekend!

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