RECIPE: Cran-Apple Orange Shortbread Thumbprints

Are you baking?

I just spent three days straight baking. We Caputo women take it pretty seriously. I take vacation time and hang with the lady folk of our family, baking traditional Italian stuff while listening to carols. It's nice. I started the tradition over 15 years ago so we can force ourselves to slow down and spend time with our mother, and each other. Good times.

Then, on the third day, mamma has some fun. I forgo Christmas carols for some Frightened Rabbit and Joy Formidable, and mix crazy things together like lemon lavender cookies, eggnog drops and coffee cocoa ribbons!

I know...crazy.

Well, last night. I was out of eggs to finish my final batch of cookies, lime cremes. I had shortbread thumbprints with nothing to fill them with. So I turned up the music with my creativity and whipped up these. Lime cremes are now...

Cran-Apple Orange Shortbread Thumbprints



1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks. room temp
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt


1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup applesauce
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 tsp. cornstarch

Powdered sugar for garnish


Preheat oven to 325˚. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and salt until well whipped and light. Turn mixer on low and add flour until well combined. Shape dough into 1" balls. Set them on a lined cookie sheet 1 1/2 " apart. Use the end of a wooden spoon to make an indentation in the middle of the cookie. pushing it on an angle and around to make the whole a little bigger. Bake 12-15 minutes, switching pans halfway through for even baking. Cookies will be set, but not brown. Let cool for one minute on sheets, then remove onto cooling racks to cool completely.

In a small saucepan, mix the cranberries with the applesauce, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for five minutes, or until cranberries are softened. Mix the cornstarch with the marmalade. Add it to the cranberry mix, stirring well. Cook until thick and bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Let cool completely. It will gel up and become thick.

Fill cookies with cranberry mixture. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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