Cookie Tour 2018 – Cranberry-Pistachio Icebox Cookies


As always, thanks so much to everyone who participated in this year’s Currier and Ives Cookie Tour held on December 8, 2018. Here at Little River Bed and Breakfast, our signature cookie this year was a Cranberry-Pistachio Icebox Cookie. They are festive, yummy… and EASY to make!!!! So if you have been on the Cookie Tour or came to our blog for the recipe in the past, and have thought “Those cookies are really cute… but they look like too much work!”, then this might be the year for you!

First things first… If you came to this blog, just looking for the recipe, you’ll find it here as a pdf: Cranberry-Pistachio Icebox Cookies – 2018 Recipe. If you are interested in the development of the recipes and a few helpful tips, then read along!

As usual, I started my Cookie Tour recipe research on Pinterest. I looked to see if there were any new or novel trends in cookies for the holidays, but in general, it mostly just put me in a happy frame of mind as I looked at gorgeous photos of cookies and holiday treats. Although I toyed with a couple of different ideas, I kept coming back to the idea of a slice-and-bake cookie with cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate. I know the flavor combination works, since I have been making white chocolate bark with cranberries and pistachios for my family for years. And as a bonus, the red of the cranberries and the green of the pistachios create a holiday mood on their own… no special decorating required! So while my first trial started with a recipe from the “Baked By Rachel” blog, subsequent iterations resulted in a number of changes. I switched from fresh to dried cranberries, reduced the sugar, reduced the overall amount of cranberries and pistachios in the recipe, omitted the orange zest, but added vanilla. Adding a drizzle of white chocolate made the cookies festive… even fancy!

So before I get into the recipe, here are a few tips and photos:
– It is best to chop the dried cranberries and the pistachios separately, by hand, rather than using a chopper or food processor, so as not to chop them too small.
– If you are making just one batch, it probably makes sense to shell your own pistachios. (Since I was making so many batches for Cookie Tour, I purchased roasted and lightly salted shelled pistachios and found that many of them were over-roasted and very dark… more brown than green.)
– For a Hanukkah (blue and white) version of the cookies, substitute dried blueberries for the cranberries and slivered almonds for the pistachios. There is no need to chop the slivered almonds, they are already chopped enough for tis recipe.
– I prefer to make square-shaped cookie logs because they don’t get a flat-side in the refrigerator and they look just a little different from other cookies.
– If you want to make the cookies in advance, make the dough, form it into logs, refrigerate until firm, slice the logs (keeping the slices in place), re-wrap, and freeze. To bake the cookies, take the frozen logs out of the freezer, use a sharp knife to separate the pre-cut slices, place them on prepared cookie sheets and bake. No need to defrost first, but they may need an extra minute or two in the oven.

Coarsely chopped cranberries…

… and pistachios.

The dough is usually quite stiff.

Form each half of the dough into a log…

…and wrap in waxed paper. You can make a round log if you prefer, but I like the looks of the square cookies… plus they are easy to cut.

Cut the log into slices…

… and bake.

Here’s the recipe:   (A pdf version of the recipe can be found HERE.)

Cranberry-Pistachio Icebox Cookies

3/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup shelled pistachios (lightly salted are good), coarsely chopped
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
white chocolate, melted per package instructions

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, salt and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Add cranberries and pistachios and mix until dispersed. If dough is too soft and sticky to work with, chill dough for 30-60 minutes before continuing. When ready, divide dough in half. Shape each half into a smooth square log, about 2″ on each side and 6 1/2″ to 7″ long. Wrap each log in wax paper. Chill shaped dough until firm, typically several hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silicone baking mat. With a serrated knife, carefully slice each log into 1/4-1/3-inch thick slices and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges barely begin to turn light golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, when cool, drizzle or dip cookies with melted white chocolate. Store cookies in an airtight container.  Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

If you are interested in recipes from past years, here are the links to our blog posts:

2010 – Mint-Filled Chocolate Fudge Cookies

2011 – Granola Cookies

2012 – S’mores Cookies

2013 – Chocolate-Caramel Pretzel Cookies

2014 – Peppermint Swirl Sugar Cookies

2015 – Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

2016 – Inside-Out Eggnog Snickerdoodles

2017 – Santa’s Buttons Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

If you look closely, you’ll see it is a cookie/baking-themed tree!