"As a children's nutrition advocate, I'm always looking for ways to make the food our children eat more healthful. When the holidays come around, the challenge becomes finding ways to eat more healthfully while still enjoying the festive treats of the season. Turns out, holiday cookies can be both delicious and nutritious. These whole-wheat cranberry thumbprints are chock-full of whole grain, flax and fruit to make them a more healthful alternative for holiday baking."
— Kim Gerber, Calabasas
1½ hours, plus cooling and chilling times
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Adapted from a recipe by Kim Gerber.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cranberries
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons corn starch
1. In a medium
whisk together one-fourth cup of water, the sugar and orange zest. Stir in the cranberries and cinnamon stick and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. In a small bowl,
whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch to form a slurry. Thoroughly stir the slurry in with the cranberry mixture and continue to cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This makes a scant 1½ cups jam, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The jam will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Cookies and assembly
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flax meal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup coarse raw sugar (for rolling)
About 3/4 cup cranberry jam
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. In a medium bowl,
whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour and the all-purpose flour, along with the flax meal and salt.
2. In the bowl
of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the orange zest and juice. Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the flour mixture until thoroughly combined to form a dough.
3. Roll about 1½ teaspoons of dough into balls. Roll each ball in the raw sugar, then place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2½ inches apart. Press an indentation into the center of each ball using your thumb or finger.
the sheets until the dough is hardened, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Bake each sheet
of cookies for 7 minutes. Remove each sheet, and quickly re-press the indentation in the center of each cookie using the handle of a wooden spoon. Continue baking the cookies until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool on wire racks.
6. To assemble
the cookies, place a small dollop (about one-half teaspoon) of the jam in the indentation of each cookie. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies, if desired, before serving.
Each of 6 dozen cookies: