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 In HearSway

Our sort-of-annual scheme to get future cavities covered by worker’s comp is over, and we have declared a winner. 

It’s These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies.

Reader Elizabeth D. has won our Moore County cookie contest and a $100 GC to Lily Rose Boutique in downtown Aberdeen for delivering a well-rounded check to all our judges’ boxes — and, for using a flavor profile that didn’t lead to heated arguments.

This festive crowd-pleaser boasted a perfectly chewy texture that even managed to fit in a few things from the bottom of the food pyramid. Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold, cubed butter
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange
  • 1-2 TB orange juice
  • dash of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Pulse cranberries and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor until cranberries are broken into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  • Combine flour and sugar.
  • In food processor, combine flour, sugar, and cubed butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand. Butter should be evenly distributed throughout. Pulse in extracts, cranberries, salt, orange zest, and orange juice.
  • Knead dough with hands if needed to form a ball. Shape into log and refrigerate in plastic wrap for 2 hours or more.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cut dough into 1/4-inch thick-slices. Roll in additional sugar if desired.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes or until set. Enjoy!

And Now, Our Runners-Up:

:: The Bakin’ Up Puns Award: The recipe that came with these Chewy Fruitcake Cookies.

“‘I hate fruitcake!’ Shut your elfin’ (fruit)cake-hole, and forget everything you thought you knew about fruitcake. Yule change your tune once you realize that these spicy-sweet treats are nuttin’ like your grandmother’s fruitcake. Even better, you don’t have to sleighve away in the kitchen all day to make them!” Download Mary E.’s recipe.

:: The Start-an-Argument Award: These ‘Cookies from Majeska,’ by Sandra F.

Filling made from a combination of chocolate and mint turned out to be very polarizing this season. One of our judges couldn’t get enough of these sweet, puffy meringue pockets of joy. The others obviously don’t have tastebuds. Plus, how could you hate a cookie recipe that encourages you to turn off the oven and forget about them? Here it is.

:: The Steady Hand Award: These Decorated Sugar Cookies by Janet S.

This set of cookies came individually wrapped and expertly detailed. For those about to attempt this level of decorating, we salute you. Here’s her recipe.

:: The Unpretentious Award: These ‘Kris Crinkle’ Cookies

Kay G. knew she’d made a good cookie. How do we know? It was delivered on a plain styrofoam plate. Basically, if Pete Davidson was a cookie, this would be it. Here’s the recipe, made for chocolate lovers.

:: Aaand the Overachiever Award: These three entries, all by the same baking duo.

Katie L. and Katie A. made us a trio of fabulous flavors: Red Velvet Sugar, Molasses and Chocolate Espresso. Here are all three recipes. P.S.: Molasses was our judges’ favorite of the three.

Lastly: Thanks to all our Moore County cookie contest contestants.

Truly, we did not meet a cookie we didn’t like.

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