Orange Cranberry Sugar Cookies

I am desperately trying to hold onto winter.  Perhaps it is because I feel like we never had a winter to begin with, no snow, Christmas day was 60 degrees (in Chicago!), I never got to make a snowman, snow angel, my hats have never made it to my head and my scarves hang limply around my neck, not once getting the chance to keep me feeling fuzzy and warm in the face of bitter chilling winds.

The coldness of winter is what makes comfort food so…comfortable.  You curl yourself around that steaming mug of Irish Coffee or that heaping bowl of  macaroni and cheese and you feel comforted, you know that you will be kept warm in the night and the memory of that food will help you wake to pitch black skies and cold floors, so what do you do when the comfort from that food isn’t so needed?  That is why I am trying to hang onto winter, the winter that never was, I need comfort food, and I need it to be ok that I need it.

So I pretend that it is winter and I make cookies, delicious soft sugar cookies with zesty goodness and the sweet bite of cranberry.  Cookies that can be eaten along side A Nice Warm Drink (which is actually the name of the drink) that is comprised of apple cider, rum, orange spice tea, brown sugar and butter.

Just makes you want to snuggle up don’t it?

Cranberry Orange Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 heaping tablespoon orange zest

Orange Sugar Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest

In the bowl of a mixer combine butter and sugar, mix on medium speed until fluffy, then agg egg, mix well to combine.
In a medium sized bowl combine the  dry ingredients, stir well, then add these ingredients 1 cup at a time to the butter mixture at low speed.  Do not over beat the cookie dough or it will become tough.
Fold in the cranberries and orange zest.  Cover and chill for at least one hour, but no longer that 3 hours.

In the meantime make the sugar topping.  Combine the sugar and orange zest with fingertips.  This releases the oils of the orange into the sugar and creates a very fragrant, very flavorful topping.

When dough is done chilling preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make as many one inch balls as you can with the dough and roll them in the sugar topping.  Place them on cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper and flatten slightly.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges start to brown, any longer and you will loose the chewiness of the cookie.

I hope you enjoy!

Photographs by MarvincPhotography.