These cookies are perfect for Christmas gift-giving. Cranberry Walnut Swirls take no more time than regular, cut sugar cookies, and the presentation is so colorful and festive, be sure to give them in a clear container or cellophane. And they’re not difficult to put together, the cookies can be rolled ahead of time and frozen for up to two months.
Crunchy walnuts, tart cranberries and the zest from an orange add just the right tart and sweet flavors that compliment the crispy golden sugar cookie dough. I like to bake these cookies till barely golden but you can make them more crisp to your liking. Leave out the walnuts if you’re not a fan. If you want them to sparkle a little, dip the cookies in regular or colored sugar just before baking.
These cookies are winners in our house, year after year. I hope they become a tradition in your house, too.
Cranberry Orange Walnut Swirls
- 1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cranberries, packed full
- 2/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon grated orange rind
- Set oven rack on top position and preheat to 375F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, egg and vanilla, combining well between each addition.
- Gradually add flour mixture and beat until well combined. (Do not overbeat it, though)
- Cover the cookie dough and chill for one hour.
- Combine cranberries, walnuts and orange rind.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10-inch square. (About 1/4 inch thick.)
- Sprinkle with cranberry mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border on 2 opposite sides.
- Roll up dough, jellyroll fashion, beginning at a bordered side. Cover and freeze 6 hours or up to 1 month.
- Cut roll into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place slices on cookie sheet. Bake on top oven rack at 375 degrees for 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden browned at the edges.
- Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- Makes about 30 "pretty" cookies plus extra from the roll ends that aren't as nice looking, but every bit as delicious.