Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts
(This recipe originally appeared at MarthaStewart.com)
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined but not too creamy. Stir in dried cranberries.
2. Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan. Bake until just beginning to turn golden (about 20 minutes). Place pan on cooling rack until cool to the touch (about 20 minutes). Run knife around the edges, remove shortbread, and transfer (right side up) to work surface. Use 1 1/2 to 2-inch heart cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Use a paring knife to trim stray bits of cranberry from the edges. Cookies will keep for 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
Shortbread and cranberries are two favorites of mine around Christmastime. These cookies are especially perfect with a nice cup of Earl Grey tea. Yum!