by Caroline

This is the third Christmas for this cookie recipe, which I found in Gourmet and love for all the reasons I love making candy: it’s quick, beautiful, and makes a lot.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (did you make candied orange peel? use your leftover coating sugar in these cookies to give them a bit more orange flavor)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (2 1/4 oz; not dyed red)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (1 1/4 oz)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup decorative sugar (preferably coarse)

Stir together flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, granulated sugar, and zest in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until dough just comes together in clumps, then mix in pistachios and cranberries.
cookie dough

Gather and press dough together, then divide into 2 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Square off long sides of each log to form a bar, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until very firm, at least 2 hours.
cookie bars

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Brush egg over all 4 long sides of bars (but not ends). Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well. (Of course you can skip this step, and I often do. The cookies are perfectly delicious without the extra coating of sugar, but it does sort of add to the nice stained glass effect).

Cut each bar crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets.
cookies to bake

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies from parchment to racks using a slotted spatula and cool completely.

I forgot to take a picture until we’d given most of the first batch away, but here are the last few, looking prettily Christmasy, I think, all studded with their red and green: