I'll add another favorite holiday cookie recipe to the growing collection here. These cookies always get rave reviews. They're elegant, chewy, fruity, chocolatey, and just generally delicious. I adapted them from a recipe in Food and Wine some years ago. (If you were at the 2001 San Francisco Chowing with the Hounds picnic, you may have tried these.)
These are easy to make, with the caveat that you much watch them very closely when baking to be sure they don't overbake around the edges. I've found that I can only successfully bake one sheetful at a time, so I just prepare the next sheet while the first is baking, rinsing the pans in cold water to cool them before spooning more cookies on.
(Makes about 3 1/2 dozen)
2 cups blanched slivered almonds, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
4 oz unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 T. finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grind 1/2 cup almonds with a few tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor or blender. Beat the remaining sugar into the melted butter, then mix in the dried fruit, orange zest, and golden syrup. Finally, beat in the flour, the ground almonds, and the remaining almonds.
Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper, and drop even measuring tablespoonfuls on the sheets about 4 inches apart (staggering them instead of dropping side-by-side works best, as they spread a LOT). Bake in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through baking, until deep golden. Allow cookies to rest on pan and firm up for 8 minutes or so, then carefully remove to a rack using a thin spatula and allow to cool completely. Repeat until all the dough is used.
When the cookies are cooled, place them side-by-side, very close together, on sheet pans lined with parchment or wax paper. Melt the chocolate and, using a fork, drizzle it over the cookies (or use a ziploc bag with a very small hole snipped in one corner). Let the cookies stand until the chocolate is set (if your kitchen is warm, you made need to refrigerate them to set the chocolate).
They can be stored in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper for up to 2 weeks.