Among this year’s 325-plus entries, our judges enjoyed a few other submissions.
Goat Cheese and Cranberry Shortbread √
Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.
Note: From Jennifer Pettit of Coon Rapids. She makes a box of cookies for family members each Christmas, “and it got to the point where the surprise in the cookie boxes was waning,” she wrote. “So I decided to change things up a bit and devise a new cookie to include in the boxes each year to keep the spark going.” This tangy, barely sweet treat is one of those surprise-inducing treats. Our judges were divided — “You have to warn people that it’s not a conventional cookie,” said one. But others were impressed. “I love the savory-ness of it,” added another judge, who added, “I would definitely put it out with cheese and olives, but I don’t know that it belongs on a cookie platter.”
• 2 c. flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 2 tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary
• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for pan
• 1 1/2 c. goat cheese, at room temperature
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3/4 c. powdered sugar
• 1/2 c. finely chopped dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 7- by 11-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and rosemary, and reserve.
In a large bowl, combine butter, goat cheese and vanilla extract until creamy. Add powdered sugar, flour mixture and cranberries and, using your hands, knead until thoroughly combined.
Spread dough into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes; do not overbake. Remove pan from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut shortbread into small squares and serve.