Cranberry and Pistachio Sable Shortbreads are an easy cookie to make and can be personalized with your own variations. I love this sandy, buttery cookie!
Last week Manservant found a recipe in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “This Holiday Season’s Smartest Cookie“. The cookies and their endless variations sounded fabulous and wanting to help in the baking process, Manservant printed this out; for me! Hmmm. I guess he was trying to tell me something. As in the past I’ve had issues with the WSJ’s recipes but I thought I’d give this a go, because as you know I love shortbread and sables are just a stone’s throw away.
Sables mean sand and yes these cookies have the texture of sand. If sand tasted like butter you’d come close to describing the flavor of this cookie. With a touch of salt and a hint of vanilla, these cookies to which I added some tart red cranberries and green nutty pistachios look a bit like Christmas. With their vintage Christmas sugar they look festive and surely will be one of the first off of your cookie platter. Now let’s take a step back? Vintage Christmas Sugar? I didn’t make this up. My sanding sugar was titled this and I just had to laugh. Does this mean my sugar is old? Who thinks of this stuff? I do love its soft and faded colors which aren’t as harsh as bright red and glowing green, so I guess that makes this sugar vintage!
Now back to the WSJ. As usual I did find several errors in their recipe. Not enough butter. And sables should contain an egg yolk or they become shortbread, so what I baked is really just a version of shortbread, which you’ve already seen twice this week. Enjoy. They all taste similar but different. Additionally they had me make four cookie logs when 2 is enough, unless you want really tiny cookies. So follow my directions and I think you will do better. But visit their site for the myriads of variations you can try.
Cranberry and Pistachio go together like chocolate and vanilla, so I figured why not. I’m happy I did and I’m happy that I only have one more batch of cookies to bake. So far I’ve baked:
- Molasses ginger cookies
- Icebox chocolate toffee cookies
- Salty dark chocolate sables from the WSJ
- Raisin and Walnut Cardamom cookies from Maida Heatter
- Shortbread nuggets
- Peanut brittle that is more like peanut praline and though it isn’t brittle it sure is good,
- Peanut butter chocolate bites
- Italian panforte with cherries and hazelnuts (if anyone has had the real thing please tell me what the consistency is supposed to be…this is like a sticky chewy slice and is very good and very dense but I have no idea if it turned out like it was supposed to!)
- Levain chocolate drop cookies
- Walnut Coconut Chewy Bars
- These Cranberry and Pistachio Shortbread Sables
Now I need to package it all up. Sending two packages out, three more to neighbors and 1 to my favorite dog groomer. Already gave two packages away to people I care about, and needless to say it’s Friday and I’ve had it! Enjoy!
Enjoy your holiday baking and don’t eat too much. Manservant is telling me to get this stuff out of the house now! I think this time I might listen to him. Next week I promise not so much butter! Here’s some comfort food to tide you over:
So Share These Cookies and Pin Them Please!
These cranberry and pistachio sable shortbreads are sandy and slightly salty with a touch of vanilla and the added flavors of tart cranberries and nutty pistachios.
12 T softened butter
1/3 c sugar
3/4 t vanilla
1/2 t flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or just sea salt
1 3/4 c flour
1/4 c chopped cranberries
1/4 c chopped pistachios
With an electric mixer, cream butter until soft and whipped, 2-3 minutes or until light colored. (Use the best butter you can find.)
Add sugar and continue beating until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Add vanilla and sea salt and beat briefly.
Add flour and beat until almost incorporated and then add your cranberries and pistachios and beat until mixed in. Mixture will be very sandy. As long as it is moist and you can gather it into a plastic wrapped log you are OK. If not feel free to add another tablespoon of softened butter and beat until mixed in. (No this is not traditional, but it worked when I had to try this.)
Form dough into two plastic wrapped logs and shape into as round a log as you can get. Roll in sanding sugar. Transfer wrapped logs to refrigerator and chill until firm, but still sliceable. Usually you will need and hour, but this dough can be kept for several days in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 325 when ready to bake. Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Remove plastic wrap from dough. Cut off ends if needed to make a straight slice. Slice each log into 12 slices. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet, spaced about 1 1/2″ apart.
Bake rotating cookie sheets after 9 minutes. Cookies should be firm and undersides just barely golden. Total baking time is about 18 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Cookies can be made up to two weeks ahead and kept in a covered container at room temperature. (If they last that long.)
Keywords: cookies, shortbread cookies, sable cookies, cranberry cookies, pistachio cookies, holiday baking, Christmas cookies