I am always very excited to try new recipes at Christmas. In fact, very few items on my baked goods plates are tried and true favorites. I think it would be much smarter for me to make the same dozen items every year, but it is always so satisfying to try something new and have people love it.
Such is with this recipe. This was the perfect addition to my repertoire as I tend to make everything very sweet and full of chocolate. This cookie is the opposite entirely. It is not sweet really at all and the tart cranberries and chopped pecans were such a fantastic combination with the bourbon.
I ended up making a mistake somewhere along the way and had to reconfigure how the cookies were formed, yet I think they turned out better than the original would have. I think they were supposed to be more shortbread or sable - like. The dough was to be chilled and rolled into a log, then sliced. Well my dough was sticky and soft and perfect for a drop cookie. I was impatient as always and just scooped it into tablespoon balls. They baked puffy and cakelike. The best part of this cookie is they were still soft three weeks after baking, which is quite unusual.
A few tips for this one. Chop the pecans really finely. I used a mini chop until they were tiny pieces. You want crunch not actual discernible pecan chunks. Also, I soaked the dried cranberries (and this recipe would be equally good with raisins) in the rum (you could also use bourbon or brandy) for about an hour which plumped them up considerably. If you don't want to use alcohol, I think applejuice or cider would work equally as well.
The flavors were much deeper a few days later when they had time to sit in an airtight container. This is definitely a winter cookie that would be good to make long after Christmas is over.
Cranberry Pecan Drop Cookies
1/2 C sugar
1-1/4 C flour
1/2 stick (1/4 C) butter
3/4c. pecan pieces
1c. dried cranberries or raisins
1/4 C rum or bourbon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
Soak the dried fruit in the liquer for about one hour. Drain the liquid from the fruit and set aside.
Sift the flour and mix with the nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.
Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next one.
Alternately add the liquer and the flour mixture. Fold in the dried fruit.
Chill the batter for 30 minutes and then scoop tablespoon size balls onto a greased baking sheet.
Bake 8 minutes in a preheated 350º oven. Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.