Do you know I didn’t realise cranberries existed before University? I first tasted cranberry juice along with Vodka at the ripe old age of 18. It was almost 10 years later that I tasted a fresh cranberry in the United States of America. They’re just not common in Australia.
In fact, when I saw a cranberry themed cake being made on Ace of Cakes, I thought it was a ruse. The bakers and decorators on the show spent hours, spray painting tiny white sugar balls into cranberries and then placing them on a cake that looked like a flooded field. They kept talking about wet harvesting and prickly bushes. Turns out it wasn’t all some Hollywood version of the truth. Cranberries are wet harvested, the fields flooded and the berries herded into a harvester using water. Amazing huh?
I’m a lover of all things buttery and shortbread-y. When I came across this recipe originally I was sceptical about using more than the standard butter, sugar and flour. But trust me, the egg yolk and sour cream provide a richness that puts this recipe above the rest.
This recipe will make a large quantity, but it freezes beautifully. I froze one log and baked the other.
Adapted from Annabel Langbein’s Buttery Shortbread
- 400g unsalted butter (about 3 1/2 sticks) at room temperature
- 1 cup caster /superfine sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp. sour cream
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest
- 3 1/2 cups plain/all purpose flour
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fixed with the paddle attachment, add the butter, salt and sugar. Beat until well mixed and slightly fluffy. All the sugar does not need to be dissolved so this should only take a couple of minutes.
- Add to this the egg yolk and sour cream, and mix until well incorporated.
- The cranberries are added next. Make sure they are finely chopped as large pieces will cause the shortbread to break as you’re slicing it. I place the 1/2 cup of cranberries on a chopping board and run my knife up and down until the pieces are nice and small. Add the finely chopped cranberries and orange zest and mix thoroughly.
- Finally add the flour, mixing until the mixture looks uniform and even. Don’t be tempted to over mix. I judge mixed as when the butter and cranberries are evenly distributed and no large chunks remain.
- Divide the dough in half and roll each half in baking paper to form logs. Place in the fridge to chill, for 30 minutes at least. The log will keep in the fridge for a week and is suitable to freeze.
- When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 300C /150F and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Unroll your shortbread log and using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1/2cm (1/4inch) slices and place on the baking tray. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned and cool before eating.