Recipes and Memories: Cranberry Orange Cookies from Kathryn Barrett

Cranberry Orange Cookies with Drippy Orange Icing from Kathryn Barrett

One Christmas my mom visited us in Wisconsin. She brought a newspaper clipping of Christmas cookie recipes that appeared in her local paper. She had never made them; she liked to bake about as much as I like to change the oil in my car.

But that baking gene apparently skips a generation—I love to bake, especially cookies.  I tried out several of the recipes, and this was my favorite. I don’t cook with dairy or eggs, so I veganized the recipe: a simple matter of using margarine instead of butter, and substituting the egg with the amazing flax mixture I use for baking. They turned out perfectly yummy. The drippy orange icing is the best part, of course—as a kid I thought the icing was the best part of anything. Especially that inch-deep Crisco icing they put on birthday cakes. (Sometimes it’s good to have a mom who doesn’t bake, since the bakery that supplied our cakes wasn’t overly concerned with healthy eating.)

Nowadays I’m more health conscious, so I justify these cookies by telling myself that cranberries are good for you. Here in the United Kingdom, it’s a bit harder to find cranberries, and when I do, I buy extra and freeze them. I use a food processor to chop them—a couple of whizzes will do it, you don’t want cranberry mush!

The best part of making these is the drippy orange mess. Icing drips everywhere! Be sure you use wax paper underneath, and if you eat all that extra icing afterward, well, I’m in no position to criticize.
Cranberry Orange Cookies with Drippy Orange Icing

1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg substitute*
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 cups cranberries, chopped
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the margarine and sugars together until thoroughly combined. Add egg substitute and orange juice. Mix until well blended.

In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to sugar mixture. Stir in orange zest, cranberries, and pecans.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Mix all icing ingredients until blended. (Mixture should be pourable, but not too runny.) Drop onto cooled cookies placed on wax paper.

*Flax egg substitute: Whisk 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds with 1/4 cup water. Let sit for 5 minutes until thickened. (Note: ground flaxseeds are available in many supermarkets in the US. If you can only find whole flaxseeds, grind them in a clean coffee grinder.)

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