Not only are the BEST Orange and Cranberry cookies you will ever eat but they make for the best edible Christmas gift if you're looking for a last minute but heartfelt, home-made Christmas present! This ready-made cookie dough is the perfect gift for that friend or family member that doesn't really cook or one that loves freshly baked cookies (and really, all cookies are best when they're freshly baked!). All they have to do is slice it up and bake the cookie dough. I share my tips on how to make the best roll cookies too and show you step by step how to make Christmas crackers. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
These Orange and Cranberry Cookies are so delicious and melt in the mouth. They've got a simple shortbread base and I've added some orange zest, juice and chopped cranberries to them. Usually roll cookies turn out a bit misshapen but with my tips you'll turn out perfectly shaped roll cookies every single time!
My tips for making the best roll cookies:
1 - Use a toilet roll core to shape your dough log! This humble household item keeps the dough in the perfect cylindrical shape.
2 - This recipe doesn't contain any egg or rising agent.
3 - This roll cookie recipe uses both semolina and cake flour to give the shortbread a wonderful crisp texture.
4 - Your freezer or fridge is your best friend when making these cookies. The freezer helps it keep its shape before you make them into crackers.
5 - The dough will last unbaked for 1 week in the fridge (or you can freeze it where it will last for 2 months). Do not cut the dough from frozen, place it in the fridge for 6 hours before slicing.
6 - When I cut the dough log into cookies I roll the dough long along so that I don't apply pressure on the same part of the dough (which flattens it on one side).
I know that making your own Christmas crackers might seem insane at best considering how busy we all are but I promise that making these aren't hard - I am a very low level crafter and if I can make them then you can (and they're surprisingly soothing to make!). The key to make these crackers (and the best roll and cut dough cookies) is the humble toilet roll core. Seriously, that's all you need to make your own decorative crackers (these ones don't have a snap in them because the centre is filled with the dough).
You should have seen me unrolling toilet rolls to get three toilet roll cores. Mr NQN watched me furiously unspooling three of them and then shook his head and returned to his office. He knows I'm always up to something. Then an hour later I burst into his office. "I think I've been bitten by a tick!". Three nights prior, I had been bitten and scratched the bite while half asleep and in the morning I noticed that it was inflamed, red and bleeding. I swabbed it with alcohol and added a band aid because wounds are not to be trifled with. Many a time I've told Mr NQN "Wound care is very important" because he gets scratches and grazes from sport all the time. He's a bit more of a "let your system figure it out" which is all great until you get sepsis and lose a limb (it happens, I read the news).
Three days later my arm showed an itchy red bullseye mark around the puncture and I did some googling and saw that it looked like a tick bite. Oh the irony of a person that hates nature and never goes bushwalking getting a tick bite! What are the chances? Could my beloved dogs have passed on a tick? I rushed straight to the doctor and announced, "I have a tick bite!". He examined it closer and told me that because I wasn't showing any symptoms of a tick bite then it was highly unlikely it was one. He ended up giving me a body lotion to soothe the skin and told me to call if there were any changes over the next two days. Placated I drove home calmer and soothed myself by making these Christmas Cookie Crackers while eating some of these cookies - perhaps this was the serotonin hit that I needed. And P.S. he was right, it wasn't a tick bite and I was better within a couple of days.
I wish all of you Dear Readers, a very Merry Christmas for this upcoming weekend! Thank you so much for coming along for this rollicking, fun ride and I hope your Christmases are delicious and full of merry cheer and surprises of the good kind!
Lots of love,
Orange & Cranberry Christmas Cookie Crackers
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 20 minutes to make the crackers
Cooking time: 15 minutes per batch
Serves: 7 Christmas crackers
- 300g/10.6ozs cake flour
- 100g/3.5ozs. semolina flour
- 200g/7ozs. caster sugar
- 300g/10.6ozs. butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
- 2-3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond flavouring
- 1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup raw sugar to roll
- 1 toilet roll core to shape
To make crackers
- 3 toilet roll cores
- Coloured cardboard
- 7 pieces of wrapping paper measuring 32x26cms/12.6x10inches
Step 1 - Sieve the cake flour and semolina flour into a bowl and whisk with sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Then add the butter, zest and 2 tablespoons of juice and almond flavouring and start to beat until coming together. If it need a bit more juice add it a little at a time (try 1/2 tablespoon then a bit more if needed). Add in the chopped cranberries and mix until combined.
Placing it in cardboard core
Dough in shape
Step 2 -Take out a sheet of cling film and weigh 145g/5.1ozs of the dough and shape into a log wrapping up with the cling film. Gently push this log of dough into the toilet roll core (mine was 4cms/1.57inches in diameter) and press down on each side so that the dough fills the core completely. Place in the freezer to firm up for 5 minutes, then slide out of the toilet roll core and repeat with the rest of the dough.
Freezing dough and then rolling in raw sugar
Wrapping frozen dough in parchment
Wrapping like a spring roll
Secure with elastic band (tape will not grip)
Wrapping with cardboard
Step 3 -Once the cookie dough is completely solid and cold roll it in the raw sugar. Place the sugar in a shallow bowl and take the clingfilm off and roll the log in the sugar. Cover in parchment using a rubber band to close it. Then cut out some coloured cardboard and wrap around the cold dough. Secure with tap and place it in the freezer until needed (the dough is much easier to work with when frozen).
Lining up dough with toilet roll cores on each end
Roll up and secure with tape
Gently twist and push
Step 4 -Cut out wrapping paper measuring 32x26cms/12.6x10inches. Place the dough log in the centre and then two toilet roll cores at each end. Roll up and secure the middle only with tape. Then pull out the cores a tiny bit and then gently twist the paper-it shouldn't break but will form a twist where you can attach some ribbon. Place ribbon on both sides. Store unbaked dough in the fridge.
Add ribbon and remove cardboard cores from the side
To bake these cookies slice up the dough into 3/4 cm/0.3inch slices and place on parchment 6cms apart (the cookies will spread to around 6cm/1.5inch). Bake for 15 minutes.