Cranberry Orange Pockets

Cranberry Orange Pockets. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times / November 29, 2012)

My dad loved these cookies, and his eyes would light up every time I baked them. He was always happy to taste-test cookies and would hang around waiting for the first batch to be iced. Dad called it "quality control."

— 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.

Cookie dough

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.


Filling

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

Cookie dough

Filling

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.