Saturday, 12 November 2011

Pistachio and Cranberry Cookies

I'm still trying to get ahead with stuff for Christmas hampers.  So far, I have lemon curd and mint chocolate truffles.  I found these cookies in (surprise, surprise) BBC Good Food Magazine as part of their Christmas hamper series.

The biscuit mixture is a pretty standard shortbread cookie mix but I've never used pistachios in baking before - they just don't last long enough to get into anything! - so I thought I'd give them a whirl.

Having no cranberries (thanks Ocado!), I used dried cherries.  I'd planned to stick some white chocolate chunks in as well but when I rooted through the baking cupboard, I discovered that a couple of mice (one 6ft, one just under 3ft) have been scoffing all my chocolate.

Need to work the fruit and nuts in a little more evenly!
I only ever buy unsalted butter and such was my haste in making these, I forgot to add some salt, which I think these needed to take the edge off of the sweetness.  Vanilla bean paste rather than essence gives a far better flavour to shortbread in my humble opinion.  And I had a little trouble cutting them once they came out of the fridge as some of them cracked through the middle - I'd probably leave it out for 5-10 mins before cutting next time.

Cooking took much longer than the recipe said but that may well just be me not having gotten the measure of my new oven just yet.

One other tip is that the cookies aren't as big as they look in the recipe picture at first glance.  Note how it's been cropped to make them look big but then you realise they're next to a pepper grinder so they're actually relatively small.  It's all about perspective.  See I have learned something being married to a pro-photographer.

Now thinking up other flavour combos to bake ahead.  Stem ginger and macadamia dipped in plain chocolate sounds like a winner.  Any other suggestions are welcome!

Recipe can be found here.

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