This week between Christmas and New Year's is one of my favorite times of the year, mainly because it's a quiet, no-pressure time at work and home when I have nothing I simply *must* get done. For that reason, I had time over the weekend to ponder whether it would be possible to use leftover cranberry sauce in a cookie and I discovered that indeed you can. I'm sharing this today in hopes someone will want to make these cookies before throwing out that unused cranberry sauce!
When I surfed the internet, I found enough recipes with "cranberry sauce" and "cookie" in the title to tell me it could be done, but I specifically wanted to use up a) sugar cookie dough leftover from last week's cookie baking marathon and b) the homemade cranberry sauce I made on Christmas Eve. Cranberry sauce is amazingly easy to make and, for a cranberry lover, is well worth the 10 minutes or so it takes to prepare. (I'll include my recipe below just in case someone wants it for next year.)
Aiming for some "pinwheel" type cookies, I decided to spread the sugar cookie dough (rolled to about 1/8 inch thickness) with the cranberry sauce -- this one containing some extra oomph from lemon zest, currants and pecans -- but I'll bet you could use whole-berry sauce in the can with similar results.
After I spread sauce on the dough and rolled it along the longest side, I popped the log of dough into the freezer for 2 hours to firm up for easy slicing. I'm a great fan of parchment paper in cooking, so here I was able to roll out the dough between a folded sheet of parchment paper, then freeze and bake on that same, single piece of paper.
I sliced the cookies about 1/3 inch thick and got 20 out of the roll. Baked at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, the cookies came out nice and bubbly and held their shape beautifully. The tart flavor was great with some of the new Christmas teas I've been enjoying.
And here's that easy sauce recipe!
1 bag (12-ounces) fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons currants
1/4 cup chopped pecans
In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add cranberries and continue to stir as the cranberries pop and form a thick, jam-like sauce. Add lemon zest, currants and pecans and mix well. Cool completely before serving.