Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

Hours and hours in the kitchen. Family members kept peeking in to see where the good smells were coming from.    The counters were loaded with macadamia nuts, cranberries, hershey kisses, peanut butter, walnuts, and powdered sugar. This year I made Peanut Butter Blossoms,  Macadamia  Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries, and Meltaways. A few of our Christmas favorites. One of the key ingredients to a successful night in the kitchen is the music. Tonight I shuffled my Christmas collection on my Ipod. Everything from Ella Fitzgerald to She & Him to one of my favorite soundtracks, Mixed Nuts. Sure makes for a fun night.

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries
  
2/3 C. macadamia nuts
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/4 C. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/2 C. sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
sugar, for dipping (about 1-2 T.)

Preheat the oven for 375. 
In a food processor, process nuts until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Combine nut butter and both sugars in a bowl and beat with mixer. Add vanilla and egg. Beat well. Lightly measure flour, level. Whisk together with soda, salt and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Add dry to sugar mixture. Beat at low speed just until combined. (Should be thick!) Stir in cranberries. Chill 10 minutes. Place dipping sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into balls (makes about 30), pressing each bowl into sugar lightly and place each ball sugar-side up on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Gently press top of each ball with a fork to form a criss cross.
Bake about 8-9 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from pan to a wire cooking rack. 


 At this point I'm about ready to call it a night. It's a lot of work to make Christmas cookies, but it's something I look forward to every year.  
After noticing how quickly the cookies are disappearing I think I can confidently say that they are all a success! 
I'm always looking for different recipes to try, if you have any to recommend let me know! Any family favorites you can share? I would love it. 

I hope your having a fun week preparing for Christmas! Don't let this time of year stress you out. Take time to relax, even for a few minutes. Stop a second and embrace the cheerfulness that this season brings, the giving spirit amongst most and do something to bless someone you don't even know! If you're in a drive-thru, pay for the person behind you, pay for someone's gas, or just wish someone "Merry Christmas" with a kind smile... it can make the biggest difference in someone's day.

Blessings to you all!

Chef Teebs

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