The holidays are all about tradition (cue the music and Tevya entering stage left). A steady and reliable occurrence year after year. Something you’ve come to expect. Whether it’s annual tickets to the Nutcracker or a night spent watching It’s a Wonderful Life. Whether it’s latkes, bûche de noél or egg nog. Established customs. The things you’ve come to expect on a certain day of the year. For everyone, those traditions are different.
Today, I’m sharing one of our annual rituals. These cookies. I make them every Christmas. They are essentially a rendition of Mexican Wedding cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes). I substitute the usual pecans with pistachios and add cranberries. The hint of green (from pistachios) and red cranberries, literally transform these anytime treats into Christmas favorites for my family.
They are super-easy to make by simply creaming butter and sugar together, adding the dry ingredients and vanilla and incorporating the nuts and dried fruit.
The cranberries and pistachios add chew and crunch. Portioning the dough with a small ice cream scoop makes it easy to roll the cookies into uniform sized balls.
Then, just bake and toss the still warm cookies into a pile of powdered sugar. At this point, I may have to sample one or two — for quality control.
Though these are a family tradition in our house, they are also perfect for gifting. Maybe for your neighbor? Your child’s teacher? A close friend? The mailman?
Of course you could just pour a glass of milk, sit in your favorite cozy spot and have them all to yourself? I’ve done both, so I won’t judge.
Cranberry Pistachio Tea Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar powdered, plus 1 cup for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons masa harina
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat together the butter and 1/3 cup of sugar until very light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour and masa harina until dough comes together. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.
- Scoop out a rounded teaspoonful of dough and roll into a 1" ball between your hands. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Bake until pale golden, about 25 minutes.
- Place confectioners sugar into a shallow bowl. Working with 2-3 cookies at a time, and while they're still warm, roll them in the sugar and set on a cooling rack.