Mom bakes the shortbread ahead, the kids cut it out with Christmas-y cutters. No sticky mess, no transferring, no gingerbread man amputees or stars without points ;-) Fun and easy!
*if cost is an issue, this can be made as plain brown-sugar shortbread, with cranberries and orange zest omitted
Makes 1 doz.
1 cup softened butter (we use olive oil margarine due to Baby's milk allergy)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup raw sugar (or granulated)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or just plain all-purpose)
1 cup whole-wheat flour (you can use all whole wheat flour, but the cookies will be heavier and dense)
zest of 1 organic orange, finely grated
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract (if cost is a factor, this can be left out)
Mix butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy.
Add remaining ingredients and mix on low until fully combined.
Turn dough out onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, and flatten with hands (or very lightly floured rolling pin) to 1/4 inch thick rectangle.
Bake on rack placed in center of 325* oven until edges are golden brown and center is slightly firm, 25-30 minutes.
Leave giant cookie rectangle on baking sheet to cool about 5 minutes, then use cookie cutters to cut shapes (if cranberry pieces get in the way, use a small sharp knife to cut them away from cutters).
Leave to cool completely, then store in air-tight container.
Eat leftover bits with a cup of tea and Christmas music playing in the background ;-)
**note- I adapted this recipe from one I clipped out of Country Living magazine a while back, and I see they've reprinted it in their Holiday 2006 issue