Cherry & Orange Peel Christmas Shortbread Cookies

I didn't make that many mince pies this year, as I want to have a few more different types of Christmas cookies, if I got the time to make them. Since I've found the time, and I've got the ingredients, I'm going for a dried fruit filled shortbread cookie.


Ingredients:

200g softened butter (I'm using Ambassador unsalted that comes ready in 200g, which I find really tasty with nice texture, and reasonably priced in this country where dairy products are crazily expensive)
50g castor sugar (super reduced, as the dried fruits will add to the sweetness)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

210g plain flour

A mix of the following that adds up to about 150g, and soak overnight with a little white wine vinegar:
Natural coloured glacé cherries, finely chopped (I'm using Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients Glace Cherries)
Tart montmorency cherries, finely chopped (I'm using Kirkland Signature which a friend brought back for me from Australia, love them! 💖)
Green glacé cherries, finely chopped
Candied orange peels, finely chopped

Making the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and salt together and mix till smooth and a little fluffy.

Gradually add in the flour and fold with a spatula till all combined. Add in the well soaked dried fruit mix and mix till they are evenly distributed in the dough.


Rolling the dough:

Divide the dough into 2 and transfer each portion onto a baking parchment and roll into a log of about 2" diameter. As the dough is really soft, it is rather hard to handle the rolling part. 

After a few goes at making this cookie, I've learned to first roll it up roughly then chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm it up a little. I will then take it out and start rolling it tighter and to get the shape right. By now it is firmer and should hold its shape better, and I can then gently push the paper from both ends inward to flatten them as much as possible. 

The dough could still be too soft, especially when working this in a hot and humid environment. In which case I'll just chill it for another 5-10 minutes, then take it out to repeat the rolling and tightening process, until the dough is shaped properly. 

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before slicing. While chilling, I will also take the logs out every 10-15 minutes to reshape them, in case they get flat on the bottom. I chilled mine overnight.

Baking it:

Preheat oven at 170ºC and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Take the logs out of the fridge and cut them, using a serrated knife, into about 1/3-inch thick slices. I find it easier to cut with the paper still in tact, as it's less messy. Also much easier to transfer each slice onto he baking tray then just pull off the paper around it. But just need to make sure that all remaining paper is taken off.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing them onto a rack as they will be still really soft and fragile. Cool completely then store in airtight box, or someone may eat them all up before Christmas!



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