Mandarin Cranberry cookies

Editor’s note: Now that the Mandarin season is underway, here’s a recipe for Mandarin-Cranberry cookies. It is from the website PoorGirlEatsWell.com.

Mandarin-Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies (makes 45 cookies; total cost of recipe — $5)

1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 ¼ c all purpose flour
1 c granulated sugar
½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
1 large egg
2 t mandarin juice
2 T mandarin zest

Cranberry “Jam”
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/3 c mandarin juice

Soak the dried cranberries in the mandarin juice until plump (4 hours or so) and puree until smooth. If too liquid, simply place the puree into a fine mesh strainer and allow some of the liquid to drain off until you’re left with a thicker jam. Place in a bowl and set aside. Grate the mandarins and place the zest on a plate with plenty of paper towels and blot gently to absorb some of the extra oils. This will make the zest easier to work with as it will not clump together.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy & fluffy. Add the egg and mandarin juice and beat into the butter & sugar mixture. Slowly, with the mixer on its lowest speed, add the flour mixture about ½ cupful at a time. Mix until completely combined. Shape the dough into a large, flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325° and prepare the baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for about 5 minutes before shaping into 1” balls. Take each ball and make a slight indentation with your finger and fill with about ¼- ½ teaspoon of cranberry jam and place on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. These cookies are supposed to be soft and have a naturally pale color so make sure not to overbake. Cool on cookie racks for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

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