Cranberry thumbprints. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)
Kim Gerber of Calabasas was one of the 10 winners of last year's Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off with her cranberry thumbprints:
"As a children's nutrition advocate, I'm always looking for ways to make the food our children eat more healthful. When the holidays come around, the challenge becomes finding ways to eat more healthfully while still enjoying the festive treats of the season. Turns out, holiday cookies can be both delicious and nutritious. These whole-wheat cranberry thumbprints are chock-full of whole grain, flax and fruit to make them a more healthful alternative for holiday baking."
These festive cookies are one of the favorite holiday cookie recipes we've collected in our updated "Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookies" e-book. The cookbook now includes 65 recipes from a wide range of sources, including world-famous pastry chefs, favorite bakeries and home cooks. And check out the favorite holiday recipes we've collected in our "Los Angeles Times Holiday Handbook." The book shares more than 110 seasonal recipes to help you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
Each book is $4.99. They are available at the Los Angeles Times bookstore for Kindle, Nook and iBooks.
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Total time: 1½ hours, plus cooling and chilling times
Servings: Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Kim Gerber.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cranberries
1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons corn starch
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together one-fourth cup of water, the sugar and orange zest. Stir in the cranberries and cinnamon stick and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch to form a slurry. Thoroughly stir in the slurry with the cranberry mixture and continue to cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This makes a scant 1½ cups jam, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The jam will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Cookies and assembly
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground flax meal
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup coarse raw sugar (for rolling)
About 3/4 cup cranberry jam
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour and the all-purpose flour, along with the flax meal and salt.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the orange zest and juice. Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the flour mixture until thoroughly combined to form a dough.
3. Roll about 1½ teaspoons of dough into balls. Roll each ball in the raw sugar, then place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2½ inches apart. Press an indentation into the center of each ball using your thumb or finger.
4. Refrigerate the sheets until the dough is hardened, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Bake each sheet of cookies for 7 minutes. Remove each sheet, and quickly re-press the indentation in the center of each cookie using the handle of a wooden spoon. Continue baking the cookies until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool on wire racks.
6. To assemble the cookies, place a small dollop (about one-half teaspoon) of the jam in the indentation of each cookie. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies, if desired, before serving.
Each of 6 dozen cookies: 62 calories; 1 gram protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 9 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 13 mg sodium.