The holidays call for cranberries in one form or another and I am just not a fan of cranberry sauce.  It should come as no surprise that I choose to meet my holiday cranberry quota with a dessert.  This Cranberry Shortbread Tart is an extra special dessert that will look stunning on your holiday table.

Cranberry Shortbread Tart {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The perfection of this Cranberry Shortbread Tart is the result of the contrast of flavors.  Rich, buttery shortbread that has the added flavor components of ground, toasted almonds and cornmeal is sandwiched around a tart and tangy cranberry filling and the combination is simply delightful.

Cranberry Shortbread Tart {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Cranberry Shortbread Tart

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch tart (serves 12-16)

Bright, tart cranberry filling sandwiched between rich buttery shortbread crust and topping makes a gorgeous and delicious holiday dessert

Ingredients

    For the filling
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp orange marmalade (or you could use apricot jam)
  • For the shortbread crust/topping
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup, plus 1 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 large egg yolk

Instructions

    For the filling
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves, this will only take a few minutes.
  2. Then, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries pop and the liquid has thickened into a syrupy consistency.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool while you make the crust/topping.
  4. For the crust/topping
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  6. Place sliced almonds onto a baking sheet and bake for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted. Turn oven off.
  7. Have a large bowl and food processor ready.
  8. Measure the 2 cups of flour into the large bowl. Take 2 Tbsp of the flour out of the large bowl and put it into the food processor. Into the large bowl, then add the cornmeal and salt. Set aside.
  9. In a food processor, pulse the toasted almonds with the 2 Tbsp of the flour until fine. Pour the almond mixture into the large bowl with the rest of the flour mixture.
  10. Next in the food processor, combine the butter, sugar, orange zest and extracts and pulse until smooth and creamy. Add the egg yolk and pulse to combine.
  11. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a cohesive dough forms.
  12. Coat a 9 1/2 X 1-inch fluted metal tart pan with a removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. Gently and evenly press half of the dough into the tart pan, pressing the dough up the sides of the pan. Cover the crust with plastic wrap.
  13. Form the remaining dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate both the crust and extra disc of dough for 30 minutes so that it gets firm.
  14. Preheat oven to 325 again.
  15. Place the tart pan onto a baking sheet and prick the dough that is in the tart pan all over. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 35 minutes.
  16. If the crust has puffed up during baking, use the back of a metal spoon to gently push the crust down to make room for the filling.
  17. Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly.
  18. Use your fingers to evenly crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the top of the filling. The pieces should be large, about the sizes of peas and marbles.
  19. Bake the tart on the the baking pan until the topping is golden brown, about another 30-35 minutes.
  20. Cool completely before carefully removing the rim of the tart pan. Cut and serve.
  21. Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

This Cranberry Shortbread Tart recipe requires several steps but none of them is difficult,  The crumbly topping and crust are the same dough divided in half.  The filling could not be simpler to make, but you just need a little bit of patience as the filling cools and the crust gets popped into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.  The wait will be worth it, trust me.

Cranberry Shortbread Tart {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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It’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays around here, and I’m loving it!  I am kicking off the holiday cookie season with a bang!  These Gingersnap Mocha Cookies are some of THE BEST cookies I have ever tasted and will now be a yearly addition to my cookie platter.

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Last year a few weeks from this time, I was in New York City presenting Matt Lauer with a ginger molasses cookie on The Today Show.  The recipe that I shared on the show is one that has been in my family for four generations and that I will continue to make without fail each Christmas, but it will just have to share the ginger spot in my holiday cookie repertoire with it’s new friend, the Gingersnap Mocha Cookie.

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

You know I love a sandwich cookie because everything is better with a frosting or filling and I love that you get to sneak two cookies into one.  Caribou Coffee contacted me about creating a new recipe inspired by their new holiday drink, the Gingersnap Cookie Mocha.  I was thrilled to be included in this challenge and immediately had a vision for these cookies in my mind.

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

These Gingersnap Mocha Cookies stay so soft and chewy for days which is precisely the way I always want my cookies to be.  The combination of ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg make your entire home smell like the holidays instantly and that mocha filling sends these cookies over the edge into pure cookie bliss.  The mocha filling is simply chocolate buttercream with coffee used to thin the buttercream rather than vanilla or cream.  I used a combination of semisweet and milk chocolate because I love the balance of rich and sweet.

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

The spicy flavor from the ginger together with the chocolate with just a hint of coffee flavor is pure perfection as far as flavor balance.  One person who tried these Gingersnap Mocha Cookies told me that the cookie made him “weak in the knees” because it is so delicious.  I promise once you make your first batch of Gingersnap Mocha Cookies, you’ll be coming back to them year after year and they will be a new holiday favorite of yours too.

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 cookie sandwiches

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies: Soft. chewy, perfectly spiced and filled with decadent mocha buttercream, these cookies are sure to be an instant holiday favorite

Ingredients

    For the cookies!
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies into
  • For the filling!
  • 3 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp milk chocolate chips
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp hot brewed coffee (I used Caribou Reindeer Blend)

Instructions

    For the cookies!
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add molasses and mix to combine.
  3. Add hot water and baking soda and mix.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until well blended and no streaks of flour remain.
  5. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and form the dough into a ball at the bottom of the bowl.
  6. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Place the granulated sugar into a shallow bowl.
  9. Use a small cookie scoop (or spoon) to scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough. Roll balls of dough in your hands and drop the balls into the sugar rolling the ball around in the sugar to coat evenly. Place sugared dough balls onto the prepared baking sheets leaving 2 inches in between cookies. The dough is easiest to work with when it is chilled, so if necessary, in between baking the sheets of dough, return the dough to the refrigerator to keep dough chilled.
  10. Bake 10-11 minutes or until tops of the cookies are cracked and edges feel set.
  11. Cool cookies completely.
  12. For the filling!
  13. Place both types of chocolate chips into a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate in 1-minute increments until the chips are melted and smooth. Stir and then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  14. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the melted chocolate into a clean medium bowl. Add butter and use an electric mixer to beat the butter and chocolate together until smooth.
  15. Add the powdered sugar and mix well.
  16. Add the hot coffee and mix until well blended, smooth and creamy.
  17. (Note: If the filling is too runny, add more powdered sugar 1 Tbsp at a time; if too stiff, add 1 tsp of coffee at a time until desired consistency is reached.)
  18. Lay out half of the cookies upside down on a clean counter or baking sheet. I like to scoop my filling into a small ziptop bag, cut one of the corners of the bag off and use it as a piping bag to pipe about 1 Tbsp of filling onto the cookies. You could also simply use a spoon to spread the filling onto the cookies.
  19. Top with remaining cookies to make sandwiches and enjoy.
  20. These cookies would be particularly delicious served with coffee.

Gingersnap Mocha Cookies {satisfymysweettooth.com}
Need creative ideas for packaging your holiday cookies? Check out my board on Learnist for 7 great ideas!

Be sure to check out the new Gingersnap Cookie Mocha at Caribou Coffee this holiday season and also follow Caribou Coffee on Pinterest and Instagram to keep up on all of their seasonal specialties and news.

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Yes, Pumpkin Pie is a classic and I will certainly be making one for Thanksgiving next week, but in addition to the classic, I also like to make something with a little twist on the good old pie.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Icing are one of my all-time favorite pumpkin recipes and would still satisfy that craving for something pumpkin after turkey dinner.

Apples are probably tied with pumpkin for people’s favorite fall dessert flavor and this Apple Streusel Cake will provide comfort with warm spices and sweet apples.

Slab pies are a great way to still serve pie but without so much fuss.  This blueberry version is calling my name and could be made with frozen blueberries if fresh are not available.

If I’m making something that is not either apple or pumpkin, you know it’s going to be something chocolate like this classic Chocolate Pie from The Pioneer Woman.

Butterscotch is another flavor that makes me think of fall for some reason.  I bookmarked this Pumpkin Butterscotch Spice Cake Trifle and have been dying for an excuse to make it.  Trifles are such awe-inspiring desserts, yet they can be so easy to make.

I LOVE pecan pie maybe more than pumpkin and I am naturally drawn to any pecan dessert that incorporates chocolate into the mix.  These Caramel Pecan Turtle Bars are such a fantastically rich combination.

Tarts are so beautiful and look complicated, but actually are easy to make, especially with step-by-step instructions like in this recipe for a French Pear Tart from The Mediterranean Dish.

Maybe you want to totally step away from classic fall flavors all together and go with a much loved flavor combination:  peanut butter and chocolate.  These Peanut Butter Cup Pots de Creme from Glazed and Confused look dangerously delicious.

Still want to serve pie, but just not pumpkin?  Check out my board on Learnist for 7 other irresistible pie flavors.

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I have told you many times that a couple of my favorite past times are watching cooking shows on the weekends and looking through cookbooks.  So when The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond came out with a new cookbook all about holiday entertaining and cooking, I would hardly wait to get my hands on a copy!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays

For most people, the holidays are a time to gather with family and friends and that usually means cooking and baking a little more than your normal routine.  The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays offers recipe ideas for 12 holidays that are sure to keep your guests happy.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays

Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman) is so humble and seems like the kind of person that I would like to be very good friends with.  For those of you who don’t utter her name daily, Ree is a food blogger turned Food Network show host who lives on a gorgeous ranch in Oklahoma with her cowboy husband and four likable and seemingly very well-rounded children.  Ree’s Food Network show features her either making enough food to feed over 100 hungry kids at her son’s football camp or making her father-in-law his favorite foods for his birthday dinner just to name a few examples.  I love Ree because she is down to earth, can make fun of herself on national television and just seems to have such an insightful handle on what home cooks want to make for weeknight meals or festive holiday occasions.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays

The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays book is organized by holidays beginning with New Year’s Day, progressing through the year with everything from Super Bowl treats to Cinco de Mayo fiesta ideas.  Ree has a lot of experience feeding a crowd so she has you covered with menu plans for your 4th of July barbecue celebration or your Easter Sunday gathering.  All of the ingredients for the recipes in this book are easy to find and Ree is the queen of step-by-step photos with her recipes.  I love step-by-step photos along the way in a recipe because it encourages me that I am doing everything right and then I am confident that my recipe will turn out the way it is supposed to.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays

And the best part is, my friend at William Morrow Publishing has so kindly offered to give a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  A Year of Holidays to a lucky one of you!

Just use the form to enter below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*William Morrow Publishing provided me with a copy of this book, but all opinions are, as always, my own.

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My bags are packed.  I am leaving for New York City this morning with my mom.  I don’t think I will be able to believe the reason that is bringing me to the city until I arrive at NBC studios on Tuesday for rehearsal.  Then Wednesday is the big day on The Today Show.

I can hardly wait to shop for Christmas presents at Union Square Holiday Market, marvel at the window decorations at Bergdorf’s, and take a bakery tour through Baked, Bouchon and Jacques Torres.  But I couldn’t leave without sharing one more perfect holiday cookie with you.

Chocolate Snickerdoodles {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Chocolate Snickerdoodles {satisfymysweettooth.com}

These Chocolate Snickerdoodles are unassumingly delicious.  They have the cookie texture that I find perfect which is crunchy around the edges and chewy in the middle.  These Chocolate Snickerdoodles are perfectly spiced and the subtle hint of chocolate that comes through as you finish your cookie is so satisfying.

Chocolate Snickerdoodles {satisfymysweettooth.com}

One of my favorite ways to enjoy chocolate is when it is combined with cinnamon and even a pinch of cayenne pepper.  I just love that warming, multi-noted chocolate flavor combination.  There is a local coffee shop that makes a spicy hot chocolate with either dark or milk chocolate.  It is one of my favorite special weekend treats and reminds me of the flavors of Red Hot candies.  Do you know those small, bright red cinnamon candies that you may have had dissolved in apple cider growing up or used to decorate gingerbread men?  The spicy hot chocolate tastes like they dissolved the cinnamon candies into perfectly rich and creamy hot chocolate.  My love for this warm, comforting drink stems from precisely the same reasons that I love these Chocolate Snickerdoodles.

Chocolate Snickerdoodles {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Chocolate Snickerdoodles {satisfymysweettooth.com}

Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 30 cookies

Perfectly spiced snickerdoodles with the subtle flavor of chocolate

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. In a small, microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolate in 30 second increments until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar. Add melted, cooled chocolate, egg and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking soda and salt until well incorporated.
  5. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll the balls into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  6. Place coated dough balls onto baking sheets and gently flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Leave 2 inches between cookies as they will spread while baking.
  7. Bake 10 minutes or until cookies are puffy and tops are cracked.
  8. Transfer cookies to wire racks for cooling.
  9. Recipe adapted from Food and Wine magazine

cream together butter and sugar

IMG_2086

mix in remaining ingredients

IMG_2087

roll dough balls in cinnamon sugar mixture

IMG_2089

place onto cookie sheets and flatten slightly

IMG_2090

bake until puffy and cracked

IMG_2091

IMG_2114

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