— Linda Amendt (www.thebakingcorner.com), Murrietta
PHOTOS: Holiday Cookie Bake-off winning cookies and bakers
Cranberry orange pockets
Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling and at least 2 hours chilling time for the dough
Servings: Makes 2 dozen cookies
Note: Adapted from Linda Amendt.
2 cups (8.5 ounces) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the orange juice and vanilla extract. On low speed, gradually stir in the flour mix just until blended.
3. Gather the dough together and divide into 2 equal portions. Shape each portion into a flat square and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours.
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons melted butter
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar and orange zest until well-blended. Stir in the dried cranberries, then the melted butter.
Cranberry orange pockets
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll one square out to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 24 (2-inch) squares. Carefully transfer the squares to the prepared cookie sheets, placing them 1 to 2 inches apart. Roll and cut the second square of dough into squares. Set aside.
3. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each square on the cookie sheets. Top with the remaining squares, and press the edges together with the tines of a fork to seal.
4. Bake until the edges are lightly golden, 12 to 16 minutes. Immediately slide the parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes, then slide off the parchment paper and cool completely.
5. Prepare the icing: In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the orange juice, zest and vanilla extract, stirring until the icing is smooth and thin enough to drizzle from a spoon. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies.
Each cookie: 146 calories; 2 grams protein; 19 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 21 mg cholesterol; 11 grams sugar; 73 mg sodium.