Shaped cookies, frosted cookies and sprinkle-topped cookies are all very festive additions to a holiday cookie plate, but they’re not the only way to make a cookie look a little festive. Sometimes it is just as simple as adding a little color and today I used dried cranberries add both color and flavor to these delicious sugar cookies. Sugar cookies aren’t always known for having mix-ins, but they can be a great base for other flavors because the cookies themselves are so simple. In addition to the cranberries, I also added sliced toasted almonds and toffee bits to these.
The cookies have a crisp edge and a slightly soft center. The cranberries really pop, with their distinctive sweet-tart flavor. The sliced almonds add a little bit of additional texture to the cookies, while the toffee adds a hint of caramelized sugar to contrast with the relatively simple vanilla flavor of the cookie dough itself. I recommend pressing the cookies don’t slightly with the palm of your hand before baking to give them a uniform look and encourage them to bake evenly. The dough does spread, but there are so many mix-ins in this recipe that the cookies don’t spread that significantly.
One of the things that I really like about this recipe is that the cookies maintain their texture for several days after baking, staying chewy instead of drying out. They do have to be stored in an airtight bag or container, of course, but the reason they stay fresh is because they use both butter and vegetable oil in the dough. The vegetable oil retains moisture better than butter does, yielding a cookie that stays fresh a bit longer. You still get the wonderful flavor from the butter, but with a slightly different texture than an all-butter sugar cookie.
Cranberry Toffee Almond Sugar Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanillaextract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced, toasted almonds
1/4 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light. Beat in egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture, stirring only until just combined. Stir in the cranberries, sliced almonds and toffee bits.
Drop shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls and arrange onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen