Halfhearted Christmas Cookie Self-Challenge #2 and #3 – Honeyed Almond-Cherry Shortbread and Chewy Chocolate-Raisin Cookies

Update: Recipes for shortbread and chocolate cookies are now available at MarthaStewart.com

2 for 1!

Well, not really 2 for 1, since it definitely took as much time as you’d expect two cookies to take, but I’m combining them into one post so that I will have more time to make cookies #4 and #5. Unless I succumb to the urge to sit here and allow my eyes to become glassy as I watch The Princess Bride without moving one muscle.

December was my month to treat my coworkers to some snacks, so I made Honeyed Almond-Cherry Shortbread (by Allison Hedges) and Chewy Chocolate-Raisin Cookies (by Sarah Carey) along with the very easy and delicious Cranberry Upside-Down Cake from the Everyday Food Cookbook.

I took a break from baking to babysit and then go visit some friends who were in town temporarily, so the whole process took about a thousand hours. I think it ended up being for the best, as the dough for the chocolate-raisin cookies was too soft to ball up, I think, before I chilled it.

I was amazed at the enthusiastic response I got from my coworkers re: forwarding on the shortbread recipe and CCing various folks as soon as is reasonable for an action item of this nature. The sherry-macerated cherries got a lift from orange zest, and the result tasted unmistakeably Christmas-y. I also enjoy slicing cookies rather than dropping them, which gives this recipe another star in my book, although that star might be canceled out by how annoying it was to coat all those sliced almonds with a honey-butter mixture. Everything in my kitchen became sticky in about thirty seconds, and the resulting almond-brittle situation was difficult to chop as the recipe directed.

The chocolate-raisin cookies weren’t quite as popular, despite their almost perfectly round appearance. I didn’t feel like traipsing over to our local liquor store to get brandy (which in hindsight was really dumb, since I need it for the Eggnog Bars. For a tangent, see the * below. So I ended up soaking the raisins in dark rum instead. The resulting taste was kinda weird, but I’m not sure how the brandy would have tasted either, so who knows. I would get rid of the raisins, add some chopped walnuts, and probably not rolled the cookies in sugar before baking. They were so sweet they almost hurt, and I think it took away from the richness of the chocolate. But look how good they look, seriously.

Three cookies down, six to go! Guide my sword, Martha!

*I got some brandy at another liquor store last night on the way over to a friend’s house, but then a BLIZZARD happened, and I had to leave my car there. I won’t be able to get it until tomorrow, I need those eggnog bars TONIGHT…DO I BRAVE THE TERRIBLE ROADS? Unlikely. I am about to make the same mistake I made with the chocolate cookies, and I don’t even care.



  1. Mom · December 20, 2009

    I just took a break from shoveling and wrapping to check out your site. I had a lot to catch up on! Lesley, your antler centerpiece is ultra creative! I loved it and might want to borrow it sometime unless you’ve dism’antlered’ it by now.
    Lesley’s pork dinner looked and sounded delicious, as well as all of Susan’s cookied , two of which I can personally vouch for as super wonderful, the Cranberry Almond Shortbread, and the Lemon Wreaths.
    Keep on cooking and having fun!

  2. Nicole · December 21, 2009

    Whoa, Susan! You are going for it! Nice.

  3. Lesley · December 22, 2009

    Mom, “dism’antlered??” Genius!!

  4. Pingback: Halfhearted Christmas Cookie Self-Challenge #8 – Mocha Madeleines (and that’s a wrap) « Marthable

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