shortbread with dried cranberries

I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether or not to post this recipe for cranberry shortbread. You see, it’s super duper, it’s fab, it’s melt-in-your-mouth taste-tastic, mate. But only for one day. 

Next day… meh, not so much – the problem being that this cookie goes soft very quickly. Think it’s all the icing sugar, which isn’t exactly keeping to the traditional ingredients for shortbread. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t mess with perfection. 

It’s also a little bit annoying as I was hoping to make them for a friend’s wedding later in the year – cos, oh yeah, cranberry shortbread hearts would be super cute and spot on for the occasion. And it was my wedding anniversary last week, so I was thinking, ‘Oooh, cunning plan… test out the recipe, celebrate with results at the same time, then write it up for the blog and include moving tribute to husband’. Yeah, there goes another super cute (but quite likely nauseating) idea out the window. Count yourself lucky – the way this cookie turned out has saved you from reams of gushy prose and a feeling in your tummy that isn’t so much butterflies as dry heaving. Hey, there’s always next year 😉  

But still, despite all that, if you feel the urge for shortbread and know you’re going to eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven…

Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

Makes about 12

You’ll need:

1 cup/2 sticks/225g unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sifted icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted plain flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325F/170C with a rack positioned in the centre of the oven. Put the butter, sugar, vanilla, flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined but not too creamy. Stir in the dried cranberries.

2. Press the dough evenly into an 8-inch square baking tin. Bake until firm and golden brown – around 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack – about another 20 minutes.

3. Run a knife around the edges, remove the shortbread from the tin and transfer to a work surface. Cut out the hearts with a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Trim any stray bits of cranberry hanging off the edges (that is such a Martha-esque thing to think about).

Cookie can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days, according to this recipe. OH NO THEY BLOODY CAN’T!

On another note – don’t bother cutting these into hearts unless you’re set on the idea for reasons of cuteness. It wastes a lot of shortbread – although it does create the perfect excuse to nibble away at the cut-offs and crumbs…