Cranberry Orange Cookies

These are ideal cookies for the holidays – read quick, easy, no fuss. The dough is mixed completely in a food processor. Bright red sugar sprinkles give a little sparkle. Dried cranberries, orange zest, allspice, and clove give the cookies a bright festive flavor. And they keep well, too!

at mimi's table Christmas cookies cranberry orange cookies

I’ve made these cookies for five consecutive Christmas cookie plates. They’re a big hit! Cranberry Orange Cookies are so easy to put together. You mix everything in a food processor.

These cookies have an interesting mix of dried cranberries, orange zest, allspice, and cloves. Very festive flavors rolled into one or two bites.

They’re pretty, too, which always makes for an attractive plate nestled among the other cookie bounty.

A batch is quick and easy. I usually make two batches and store one in an airtight container in the refrigerator for baking later over the holidays. They don’t spread a lot, either, so you can fit more than 12 on a half-sheet pan. I got 18 cookies on each sheet pan this year.

Rolling the cookie dough in red sugar sprinkles before baking gives the cookie a crunchy exterior and a little sparkle. Cranberry Orange Cookies stay moist and keep well.

at mimi's table frustrated womanAnd buy red sugar sprinkles early in the season. Egads! I went to six grocery stores until I found four little bottles. And it was ten days before Christmas! Every store had plenty of green. I left two red bottles on the shelf knowing some needy baker would run into the same dilemma as I did. Maybe I should come up with a green sprinkle recipe? Next year, I’m ordering mine online immediately after Thanksgiving.

Happy Baking!        at mimi's table 2017 christmas wreath

Cranberry Orange Cookies
These are ideal cookies for the holidays - read quick, easy, no fuss. The dough is mixed completely in a food processor. Bright red sugar sprinkles give a little sparkle. Dried cranberries, orange zest, allspice, and clove give the cookies a bright festive flavor. And they keep well, too!
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 48 cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, but into small pieces
  • ¼ cup cranberry juice cocktail
  • ½ teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • Red sugar sprinkles for rolling
  1. In a food processor, pulse the dried cranberries and granulated sugar until the cranberries are finely ground and the sugar turns red.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, orange zest, salt, allspice, and cloves. Pulse until combined.
  3. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
  4. In a 1-2 cup measuring cup, combine the cranberry juice, food coloring, and vanilla. Stir with a fork. Break an egg into the measuring cup, and lightly beat the egg.
  5. Pulse the liquid into the other ingredients until a dough forms.
  6. Put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.
  7. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat to 350F degrees.
  8. Line two half-sheet pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into balls and place them on a cutting board. Once all the balls are made, roll them into the red sugar sprinkles and onto the sheet pan.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven onto cooling racks. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
  11. Store in container with a tight-fitting lid in a cool dry place until ready to serve.
I usually make two batches of cookie dough, mixed one at a time in the food processor. One batch I bake, and the second batch of dough is wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator until I need another round. These are fabulous holiday cookies. They stay moist, keep well, and are so pretty!


Shirley’s Christmas Walnut Roll

grannie geek, Shirley's Christmas Walnut Roll
Shirley’s Christmas Walnut Roll

Growing up, our family was incredibly spoiled at Christmas time.  My mother, Shirley, and my paternal grandmother, Grandma Szewczyk, excelled at baking.  Because Grandma Szewczyk lived directly across an alley from us, we were doubly blessed.

My mom’s walnut roll was a Christmas must have.  My grandmother would make one filled with poppyseeds – makowiec.  Poppyseeds to Polish folks are believed to bring good luck, so it is traditional to serve the poppyseed variation at Christmas and New Year’s.  Over the years, Grandma deferred to my mother’s walnut roll, but continued to make her more than fair share of baked goodies.

Continue reading “Shirley’s Christmas Walnut Roll”

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

grannie geek, make ahead turkey gravy stock

My house is smelling so good today!  And the Packers and the Vikings are in overtime!  It’s a happy Sunday afternoon.

grannie geek, make ahead turkey gravy

It’s the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Regardless of whether I’m cooking for the two of us or for a houseful of family and guests, I always manage to have more ideas rambling around in my gray-haired head than I have people to eat.  The luxury this year is that I’m trying a few different menu items.  One of them is this make ahead turkey gravy.  If you’re a Thanksgiving newbie, make ahead gravy will be a lifesaver.  If you’ve been around the block once or twice like me, It’s so nice to have this part of the meal finished.  After three hours and a few simple ingredients, you’ll have a flavorful, rich, deep brown turkey broth for gravy and to transform servings of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes into a Thanksgiving masterpiece.

grannie geek, make ahead turkey gravy meat & vegetables

I’m using my grandmother’s Guardian Service roaster – I love this roaster.  I sprayed the bottom with vegetable cooking spray.  Add two turkey legs, or you could use turkey wings, salt and pepper the poultry,  four stalks of celery with leaves each cut into thirds, a large onion cut into quarters peel intact, and four large cloves of fresh garlic.  Drizzle the mix with a little olive to promote browning.  Put the roaster into a 375°F oven for two hours.

grannie geek, make ahead turkey gravy roasted turkey and veggies

Take the roaster out of the oven.  Can you see all the rich, deep brown drippings on the bottom of the roaster?  That’s what’s going to make this stock beautiful.  Add six cups of water or a combination of chicken stock and water, and bring it all to a boil on the stove for another hour.  Guess what?  The house smells like heaven, and I’m rapidly getting into the holiday spirit.

grannie geek, make ahead turkey gravy stock, turkey, veggiesgrannie geek, make ahead turkey gravy collage

Allow the liquid to cool for a little bit.  Using a strainer, drain off the liquid, and there you have it.

At this point, you can go ahead and make the gravy to store in the refrigerator – just warm it at meal time.  Or you can transfer the stock into a container, and wait until Thanksgiving to make the gravy.  I’m going to store the stock, so I can add drippings from the bird to make even more gravy.  I figure you can’t have too much gravy.  This way, too, I can remove the fat from the stock.

You know what I did with the turkey leg meat?  Turned it into turkey tetrazzini!

Let’s Make Gravy!
To put it all together, make a roux in a large saucepan with 4 Tablespoons melted butter and 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour.  Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, so the raw flour taste cooks out.  Add 2 cups of the turkey stock.  Stir to combine.  Add 1/2 cup of milk or cream, a teaspoon of apple cider (for a little tang) or a Tablespoon of cognac or brandy (for a richer taste).  Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.  Heat the gravy until it is bubbling.  Stir, turn down the heat, and keep warm on the stove, until you’re ready to serve. Don’t worry if a film forms over the top.  Just whisk the gravy, and it will dissolve.

Make sure the gravy has a pourable consistency.  If it is too thick, add a little more turkey stock.  If it’s too thin, here’s a trick my mother used.  She put 1/4 cup of warm water in a small glass jar with a lid, and added 2 Tablespoons of flour.  Secure the lid, and shake until the flour is dissolved.  Slowly drip into the gravy, whisking constantly.  Add just enough of the flour slurry to reach the desired consistency.  You may not need the whole jar.

As the tension mounts on Thanksgiving Day for serving, the gravy is always the last mealtime item to prepare.  Give yourself a breather with Make Ahead Turkey Gravy!

Very gently modified from Make Ahead Turkey Gravy from  Visit the Noble Pig for a peek at what the finished product will look like!

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy
Get a head start on Thanksgiving with this rich and yummy make ahead turkey gravy!
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Thanksgiving
Serves: 8-10
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 turkey wings or turkey legs
  • 4 ribs of celery, each stalk cut into thirds
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled, peeled or smashed
  • 6 cups water or 3 cups water and 3 cups chicken stock
  • For The Gravy
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups turkey stock, strained and defatted
  • ½ cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar or 1 Tablespoon cognac or brandy
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a dutch oven or small roaster, place the turkey wings or legs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add chopped vegetables and garlic. Roast for 2 hours.
  3. Remove roaster to the stove top. Add water/chicken stock. Bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for one hour.
  4. All the liquid to slightly cool. Strain the liquid into a large bowl. Line the strainer with cheesecloth or paper toweling.
  5. Pour into a storage container, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  6. To Make The Gravy
  7. In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour, and whisk together. Cook the butter/flour mixture for a minute or two to cook out the raw taste of the flour.
  8. Add the turkey stock, and whisk until thickened.
  9. Add milk, cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Keep warm on the stove until ready to serve.
  11. If the gravy is too thick, add a little more stock. If it is too thin, in a jar, shake together ¼ cup warm water with 2 Tablespoons of flour to make a slurry. While whisking the gravy, slowly add the slurry until the desired consistency.
Recipe makes approximately 2½ cups of gravy.

Gently modified from
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8-10