Cranberry Shortbread

So easy to make and quite delicious.

The secret is in the pause.

Easy Cranberry Shortbread

The tang of the cranberries with the sweetness of the shortbread is a perfect marriage.

And (of course) eating dried fruit with my cookie makes me feel that surely I am doing something good for my body!


  • 5oz (145g) softened salted butter
  • 1/2 cup (50g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 + 1/2 cups (180g) All Purpose Flour (in this case Red Fife)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Pinch of salt


  • Cream butter and sugar.
  • Mix in vanilla.
  • Toss the roughly chopped cranberries into the flour
  • Fold Flour, Fruit and Salt into creamed butter
  • Scoop out onto counter and shape into rectangular log, wrap in baking paper (or butter paper) and leave in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The Pause (most important for hydration of the flour and ease of slicing).
  • While still chilled slice about 1/4 inch thick. Lay out on baking sheet, and bake immediately at 360F for 25 – 30 mins (approx) .

Remember that all ovens are different so adjust your temperatures and baking times accordingly.

The Garden

The tomatoes are all back in the glass house.

The air temperatures need to be above 50F before they can be back outside and not lose their momentum.

Tomato plants lined up outside under bushes hardening off before planting,

So, no more tomato plants sitting out in the dappled sun for a few days. Next week the temperatures are still quite low and we need a soil temperature of 60F to plant out tomatoes.

So they will be coming in and out for at least another week or so.

The problem is that tomatoes are John’s domain and he will almost certainly not wait until the ground is warm enough (he always plants too early and his plants stall or are frosted down – every year – it was a family legend long before I arrived), so I will plant the back up tomatoes into bigger pots today and mind them until they are needed.

The idea is to plant the plants without shocking them – if a plant gets a shock she will send out the message to flower and try to propagate before she dies. Diverting the energy needed for a good root structure. Best to slide a plant into the soil when the soil and the weather are at optimum.

I went down the back yesterday to work in the asparagus and was blown back in by a squall of stingy snow – twice. But with a lot of grumbling, the beds are all covered with straw again so the spikes that have popped through do not get frosted off and rot back into the asparagus root bed.

Although I want everything planted and underway before I start travelling again – there is another two or three weeks at least before putting our the tender plants. I am aiming for mid to late May.

More cabbages and broccoli and more greens will be planted out after next week. They are cool weather plants.


Cold but not too cold. And just cold and cloudy enough to keep me inside writing.

We are past our last frost date for this area (Central Illinois) and approaching the last frost date for Northern Illinois. So I think things are pretty much on track.

Weather Central Illinois 6.30 am Sunday April 23

It was very chilly at 6.30 this morning.

Hope you are having a great Spring (and Fall).

This is the time of year where my children (in NZ) and I have about the same temperatures as our seasons shake hands on the way past.

Take care and talk soon.


22 Comments on “Cranberry Shortbread

  1. I’m curious about the flour, Celi — your using Red Fife and describing that as all-purpose. Are you using it at 100% extraction, or sifting out some of the bran, or finding a source for Red Fife at a lower extraction? (You may recall that I’m a baker first.)

    • This is 100%. From Janies Mill. ( which is why I use a little more butter) Before the advent of our more modern varieties Red Fife was one of the biggest selling AP flours. Though as you know most All Purpose flours are down as far as 60% extraction and roller milled so yeah – no bran at all.

      Black Emmer would be my other favorite for these. 100% too. Good for the Gut.

      How is your baking going Jonathan?

      • Thanks Cecilia. I figured you would be using Janie’s Red Fife at 100%, but thought it was worth checking. I do love that flour. (Black Emmer too, but pricey!) I’ve been playing around with making my own “artisan blend” using JM’s Whole Kernel and Red Fife &/or Turkey Red at about 95% extraction. My baking goes well. Endlessly engaging.

  2. I’m chuckling a bit at your back-up tomato plan given the varied viewpoints on historical gardening and planting times. Always good to have a back-up I think 🙂

    • Yes! It is beyond awful when he loses all the tomatoes. I am not sure what it is with men and tomatoes. But which whichever way you look at it there is going to be a long wait before i can make that longed for BLT!!

      • We are holding up on planting the tomatoes until the beginning of May. Last year we lost every one with a late freeze and had to start all over from seed. 😦 Our spring crops are doing great though and we are eating asparagus and broccoli. Can’t wait to be eating tomatoes!!!

  3. It’s been a strange tomato season here… less summer yield more autumn. Being subtropical we can and sow seed directly, and low, then build the soil up around the roots & stem as the plant grows.

  4. It must be the time of year for bickies. Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, and we made a big batch of Anzac bickies to mark the occasion. They have turned out super-tasty this year (I did not tell the Husband I reduced the sugar content, but it lets you taste the golden syrup and butter more). And the mystery of men and tomatoes? I diagnose a patience issue…

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