Cranberry Orange Sablés

Any fellow cranberry junkies out there? (It’s okay to raise your hand, this is a safe space…!)

Consuming cranberries is my favorite way to maintain basic urinary health while boosting my immune system. Drinking a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice is like absorbing pure vitality; even the shocking taste is bracing, like taking a polar bear plunge or throwing back a shot of fresh ginger juice.

With every passing year, I place more and more cranberry sauce on my plate for Thanksgiving dinner. It becomes a welcome addition to turkey, bacon sprouts, creamy sweet potatoes…I pass it around my dish like a rumor, allowing it to shapeshift and add brightness to every decadent bite.

So this year, when I passed by the cranberries in the grocery store only to discover that they were on sale, I ended up celebrating this fact by buying a lot…as in, over five bags of fresh cranberries…

After making cranberry relish, I still had four bags of cranberries. These are destined to become a cranberry curd tart, cranberry simple syrup, cranberry apple handpies…anything left over will head straight to the freezer for mocktails.

Before the holiday was up, I’d made cranberry cookies. The recipe is fresh-tasting, delightfully simple, and can all be combined in one large mixing bowl. (I don’t know about you, but during the holiday season I try to minimize the amount of unnecessary dishes I have to do.)

sugar, flour, orange zest, pulverized dried cranberries and walnuts…what’s not to love?

Once combined, the dough is shaped into a log, rolled in sugar, and placed in the fridge for at least two hours.

cookies are cut about 1/2″ thick

With these flavorful, sightly cookies, erring on the side of underbaking, rather than overbaking, is key.

ever so slightly golden on the bottom with a moist crumb, these simple cookies may end up a seasonal staple!

Cranberry Orange Sablés

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Time 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Seasonal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold butter, salted
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • zest of one orange
  • 2-3 Tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
  • additional sugar to roll over cookie log

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor or blender, combine cranberries and 1/4 cup sugar and blend until the cranberries are fine and mostly uniform in size. Place in a large bowl.
  • Wipe out the blender or food processor, add walnuts, and cut until they resemble coarse meal. Add to the large bowl with the cranberries.
  • Wipe out the blender or food processor once more. Add the flour and remaining sugar, and pulse. Add the butter and pulse until you have very fine crumbs. Add to the bowl with walnuts and cranberries. Add orange zest, orange juice, and almond extract. Stir to combine.
  • Knead the dough until a ball comes together, adding orange juice as needed to moisten the dough. Form into a log about two inches in diameter, and roll in sugar if desired. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge between two hours and three days.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cut cookies using a large knife to about 1/2" thickness. Place cookies on a baking sheet with at least 1" of space between them. Bake 13-15 minutes, being careful not to overbake.
  • Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the warm baking sheet before removing and placing on a wire rack to continue to cool.
  • Save in an airtight container up to 4 days, or freeze, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months.
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Giada de Laurentiis’ Lemony Fettuccini Alfredo

Sometimes, you just need creamy pasta–especially when the weather demands comfort food.

In spite of the ample amount of cream in this dish, lemon juice and zest brighten the whole thing up–and you can’t help but feel like you’re getting away with something as you dish up another forkful of heavy-cream-coated carbs, without the associated heaviness plastering you to your chair like the lead-filled protective apron the doctor drapes over you when it comes time to get x-rays.

I distinctly remember the first time my mother told me to add freshly grated nutmeg to ricotta cheese. I remember thinking, “Nutmeg? In cheese?” My understanding of the spice up until that point was pretty much exclusive to “pumpkin spice” flavored things. Though I was somewhat aghast at this idea, my mother informed me that this was, in fact, the traditional way to make lasagna–and my trust in her knowledge had handsome returns when it came time to eat. Needless to say, I’ve never looked back when it comes to adding nutmeg to savory dishes. A warming spice with an almost menthol-y personality, a little nutmeg goes a long way; but if you skip it, it’s often the “missing link” at the flavor party. The point is, don’t skip the nutmeg. Freshly ground is best. (That goes for all spices, all of the time, by the way. But that might be another blog post.)

I will say this is another recipe that truly is at its best when prepared right before dinner. The leftovers are, well, not a prime example of what the original dish can be–I’ll put it that way.

But if you’re having company, or even if you want to spruce up date night with your partner, this recipe has an element of indulgence, and the romance that pasta brings. (Why do I think pasta’s romantic? It might have something to do with this iconic scene, not gonna lie.)

this recipe tastes complex, but relies on a few “big player” ingredients–lemon, parmesan, and nutmeg…and of course, butter!

One of my favorite aspects of this recipe is, there’s no thickening agent to make the sauce coat the pasta, like cornstarch or flour. The sauce relies on the cream curdling slightly with the addition of lemon juice; then the flavor is softened slightly with the addition of a few pats of butter. What could be bad about that?

i even drizzled some sauce over my panfried chicken…because you can never have too much cream, right?

Giada de Laurentiis’ Fettucine Alfredo

Serves 6

  • 18 oz fettucine (fresh is yummy but dried is great too)
  • 2 ½ c heavy cream
  • ½ c lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 12 Tbs butter 
  • 2 c grated parmesan
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1-2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil (garnish)

Juice and zest lemons, and grate parmesan and nutmeg.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add fettucine and cook until al dente, 6-8 minutes, and drain in a colander in the sink. Do not rinse the pasta.

Stir 2 cups of cream and lemon juice into a heavy-bottomed sauce pot. Add butter and cook over medium heat until butter melts, about 3 minutes. 

Remove from the heat, add pasta, remaining ½ cup of cream, parmesan, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and toss until cheese is melted and pasta is coated. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper as needed, bearing in mind the parmesan contains a lot of salt.

Return pot to burner and warm over low heat, about one minute, or until sauce thickens to desired consistency. Plate with fresh basil and serve immediately. Simple steamed greens, salad, and meat are great compliments, as is a glass of white wine.