Cranberry Chocolate Orange Shortbread Biscuits

December 277_s

This is a good biscuit to make if you’re bored by the ubiquity of saccharine goods–the dough itself is just barely sugar-sweet, carrying the flavour of orange zest, chocolate and dried cranberries very well. They also have a good crunch and crumble to them before melting in the mouth. To add to these virtues, the dough is very easy to mix, shape, and bake–you can make the dough in advance and bake them whenever you like. I added plain chocolate chips because I had a handful to spare, but you can swap these for another kind of chocolate or more dried fruit.

The biscuits keep well in an airtight tub or tin. As if….

Adapted from Honey & Jam
Makes about 12; easily doubled. Store at room temperature in an airtight box.

125g plain flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter, room temperature – spreadable but not sloppy
50g icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (from about half a large orange)
75g dried cranberries
100g dark chocolate chips

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy, smooth, lighter in colour and texture – about 2 minutes by hand-mixer or a good few agonising minutes by hand. Add the sifted icing sugar and caster sugar, beating until smooth. Thoroughly mix in the vanilla extract, almond extract, orange zest, dried cranberries and chocolate chips.Add the flour mixture one half at a time to the butter mixture, slowly and carefully mixing until you have a smooth dough. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom well to blend any flour pockets. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured chopping board. Shape it into a log about 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter, making sure the ends are blunt and flat. Wrap in baking paper or clingfilm and and refrigerate until completely firm and sliceable, at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days; you could probably also freeze it for a month).

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/160 fan. Line a couple of 13″ baking trays with baking paper (or 1 larger one; just don’t try to crowd the biscuits onto a smaller tray or you’ll end up with one giant biscuit!).

When you are ready to bake, remove the cookie dough from the fridge and unwrap. Cut the log into 1/4-inch thick (~1 cm) slices, placing them about 1 inch (2 – 3 cm) apart on the baking trays. Bake until pale gold at the edges, about 10-12 minutes.  The biscuits should be set but still very soft so let them cool completely on the tray; they will firm and crisp up considerably.

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