Cranberries grow across the Northern Hemisphere, but the U.S. and Canada are the main world producers. While I often think of them as a Northern New England crop, it turns out that Wisconsin is our leading producer of cranberries. We even have cranberry farms in Michigan, including the historic Centennial Cranberry Farm hiding way in the Upper Pennisula! For commercial production, farmers create special cranberry beds of sand surrounded by man-made dikes. A common myth is that cranberry beds are flooded year around. While they are kept well irrigated, they're only flooded in the fall to help with the harvest and again in the winter to protect the bed.
I frequently make Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies, which use dried cranberries instead of the traditional raisins, but as often happens, I got the urge to try something different. These butter cookies flavored with cranberries are simple in appearance and simply delicious. They'd go very nicely with tea.
from The Colossal Cookie Cookbook
3/4 C cranberries (fresh, not dried!)
1/3 C superfine sugar (i.e. castor sugar - use regular if you don't have it)
1 Tbsp water
2 C all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 C confectioner's sugar
1 1/4 sticks butter (i.e. 5 ounces) cut into small pieces
granulated sugar for dusting
Place cranberries, superfine sugar, and water into a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 8 - 10 minutes or so until the mixture is very thick like a jelly. Cool.
Place flour and confectioner's sugar into a mixing bowl and blend in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. (I put it all in my KitchenAid mixer and let it go at stir or low speed until the same result was achieved.) Add the cooled cranberry mixture and bring all ingredients together to form a ball. (Again, the KitchenAid was my friend.) Wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare several baking sheets. (Grease if needed, or even better use parchment paper or silicone baking mats.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and stamp out your cookies with a 3-inch wide cookie cutter. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges. If you use smaller or larger cookie cutters, you will need to adjust the cooking time.
Transfer to a wire rack, sprinkle with a touch of granulated sugar, and let cook.
Kitchen Chick's notes: chilling the dough too long can make it hard to roll out.