This year, whilst mindlessly flicking through Twitter, my attention was drawn to this - the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.
Of course, I signed up immediately and spent the next few weeks constantly plotting what kind of utterly mind-blowing cookie I could come up with.
My workmates came up with all kinds of wacky suggestions, some of which we actually experimented with, but, in the end, it was all too complicated and I plumped for something a bit more classic - I'm sure my cookie giftees were relieved!
Shortbread seemed practical for posting - it lasts well and is delicious. The addition of sour cherries and almonds seemed kind of festive to me - also, sour cherries are kind of unbelievable - they taste quite a lot like tangfastics :)
Sour Cherry and Almond Shortbread
- Butter (at room temperature)
- Caster sugar
- Plain flour (I like the superfine stuff)
- Ground almonds
- Pinch of salt
- Dried sour cherries
- Blanched almonds
- Preheat the oven to about 150.
- Mix together the butter, sugar, ground almonds, flour and salt - I did this in an electric mixer - you can also use a wooden spoon or your hands. Don't overmix - just do enough to make sure that everything is properly combined.
- Gently mix in the sour cherries and almonds (I kept the almonds whole - I like the great big chunks in the cookies - but there would be no harm in chopping them up a bit if you preferred).
- Roll the whole lot out into a big sausage, wrap it in greaseproof paper and stick it in the fridge for at least half an hour (overnight is totally fine).
- When you're ready to bake the cookies, take the dough-sausage out of the fridge, chop it into (fattish) rounds and arrange on a lined baking sheet. They don't spread much, but worth leaving a bit of space between them just in case.
- Stick them in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. They won't colour much and might look undercooked (always the way with shortbread), but you just have to believe.
- Take them out of the oven and cool on wire racks.
Super easy, no?
You can decorate them with drizzled white and dark chocolate if you want, or try to make pretty icing patterns on them for extra bakewelliness, but I chose to leave mine plain - I like them better than way.
The best part about the Cookie Swap was that I also received THREE batches of delicious cookies from three other lovely bloggers - I'll update on those later.
Happy baking, everyone!