As 2013 draws to a close, I want to express my gratitude to all my readers. Thank you for your coming to the blog so regularly.
Also, thank you for the constant encouragement that indulges my crazy baking ideas and experiments. The fact that some of you used my recipes with much success (and some with challenges) was a year-long present. I’m glad the desserts could transcend beyond your computer screen and become treats for you and your love ones.
I wish you all a happy holiday, a joyous New Year celebration and above all—good health and happy baking.
Pistachio Cranberry Peppermint Bars
recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
2 cup (8 ounces) dried cranberries, chopped
1-1/2 cups (7 ounces) pistachios, toasted and chopped
4 ounces peppermint bark, finely chopped
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
2-1/2 cups (12-1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5-1/2 ounces) superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (8 ounces/2 sticks), cut into 16 pieces, cool (about 20 minutes at room temperature)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375℉. Line 1/2 sheet baking pan with parchment, set aside. Combine 1 cup of dried cranberries and pistachios in a bowl, set aside. In a separate bowl, combine peppermint bark and white chocolate, set aside.
2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, salt and remaining 1 cup cranberries on low speed until combined, about 10 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
3. Press dough in even layer into parchment-lined 1/2 sheet baking pan. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Immediately after removing baking sheet from oven, sprinkle evenly with white chocolate mixture; let stand to melt, about 3 minutes.
4. Using a small offset spatula, spread chocolate into even layer, then sprinkle evenly with pistachio mixture, press gently to adhere. Cool on wire rack until just warm, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Using pizza wheel or large knife, cut into desire shapes and sizes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Notes: If you can’t find the peppermint bark, substitute with white chocolate and either add crushed peppermint candies to the pistachios mixture or add 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the batter.