Barbara Gmitrowski is a former Winnipegger who is living in the Middle East but regularly checks out her hometown's news (and recipes) online. She wrote in with her favourite holiday cookies, a chewy combination of cranberry, coconut and citrus that always gets great reviews.
Chewy cranberry coconut cookies
375 ml (11/2 cups) butter, softened
500 ml (2 cups) granulated sugar
Grated rind of one orange
10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla
740 ml (31/4 cups) all-purpose flour
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
375 ml (11/2 cups) dried cranberries
375 ml (11/2 cups) sweetened dried coconut
Preheat oven to 175C (350F). In large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, orange zest and vanilla until smooth. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture and beat on low speed for about 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries and coconut. Shape dough into 2.5 cm (1 in) balls and place about 5 cm (2 in) apart on greased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula to cool on racks.
Tester's notes: I love the combination of flavours and textures in this wonderfully chewy cookie. The dough is a little challenging to work with and might seem dry and crumbly at first. Make sure the butter is nice and soft, and don't pack down the flour when measuring or you could end with a dough that's too heavy. Using a substantial stand mixer will really help with this recipe. If you don't have one, switching at the end to a wooden spoon and some elbow power or even kneading with your hands can help bring the dough together. If cookies aren't spreading when baking, you might want to flatten the dough balls slightly with the bottom of a glass.
Looking on the Internet, I noticed that some versions of this recipe add one egg to the butter-sugar mixture, which makes the dough easier to work with. (I tried that on a second batch and had good results.)