The Holidays call for all things sparkly and boozy! Cookies are no exception to that rule. To help fulfill these holiday wishes, make these Ode to Panettone Cookies.
They are slice-and-bake spiced cookies filled with citrus zest, speckled with dried candied fruit and raisins and finished with sparkly sugared edges.
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Ode to Panettone
If you are not familiar, panettone is traditionally served at Christmastime. It’s a bread (often called a cake, though!) made with a sweet dough and studded with candied fruits and raisins.
I’m not sure there are too many fans of panettone out there, to be honest! The flavors of this holiday classic are so rich, though, and make for the perfect panettone-inspired holiday cookie.
Buttery Holiday Shortbread
Because traditional panettone is rich and buttery, shortbread makes for the ideal cookie version of this treat. Shortbread is mostly made of butter (over a cup (250 grams) of it), sugar, flour and salt.
Shortbread contains no leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda which help cookies puff up when baked. Because of this and the refrigeration which solidifies the butter, these cookies don’t spread much.
To add the flavors of panettone to these cookies, brandy-soaked fruit and raisins are added along with citrus zest and almond extract. All these flavors combine to create a burst of holiday, panettone-inspired goodness in cookie form.
Those Sparkly, Crispy Cookie Edges
Nothing says holiday more than sparkly sugar-coated, crispy cookie edges! To achieve this must-have finishing touch, be sure to reserve the soaking liquid from the soaked fruit.
Use this to brush the sides of the chilled cookie dough then roll the cookie dough log in gold sanding sugar to cover completely.
Slice the cookie dough into ½-inch slices and bake. Those edges get crispy and retain their sparkle when baked. Simply perfect for ringing in the holidays!
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This step helps plump the fruit and soak in that glorious brandy or Grand Marnier flavor. Skipping this step would result in dry fruit which would not be ideal for these cookies.
If you forgot to soak the fruit or you are short on time (this happens to me all the time!), here’s a quick shortcut: place the fruit and raisins in a microwave safe bowl and cover with the brandy or Grand Marnier. Cover with a paper towel or piece of wax paper then microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. Allow to soak for another 10-15 minutes after removing from the microwave.
Yes, this recipe can be made without alcohol. Here are some substitutions for the brandy/Grand Marnier:
- Apple juice
- White Grape Juice
- Pear Juice
- Warm water with 2 tablespoons rum or brandy extract
The recipe turns out best when the cookie dough has been chilled for at least two hours. This allows the texture to firm up while the flour fully hydrates. The cookie dough would be too soft to slice and bake without first chilling.
Why does flour need to hydrate in cookie dough? Allowing the cookie dough to chill enables the wet ingredients to absorb into the flour, creating an even texture once baked. Chilling the cookie dough also concentrates the flavor of the cookie dough for more flavorful cookies!
Lastly, chilling the dough prevents the cookies from spreading too much in the oven if the butter is too warm.
Looking for more holiday cookie recipes? Give these a try:
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- 1 cup brandy or orange liqueur*
- ¾ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried fruit and peel mix*
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoon orange zest from about 1 medium navel orange
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest from about 1 large lemon
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar
- gold sanding sugar optional
- In a medium bowl covered with a lid, combine brandy or liqueur, raisins, and fruit and peel mix, and let stand overnight.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, lemon zest, and almond extract at medium-high speed until super light and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add flour and salt, and beat at low speed just until combined.
- Drain raisin mixture, reserving soaking liquid. Add raisin mixture to dough, and beat at low just until combined. Divide dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape each half into a smooth 2- to 2¼-inch-wide log. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C). Line 2 rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine turbinado sugar or Demerara sugar and sanding sugar (if using).
- Using a silicone pastry brush, brush dough logs with reserved soaking liquid. Pour sugar mixture onto a baking sheet or flat plate and roll logs in sugar mixture until sides are completely covered. Cut each log crosswise into ½-inch slices. Place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans.
- Bake until edges are just beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cool on pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- *I used Paradise Holiday Fruit Old English Fruit & Peel Mix and Grand Marnier
- A 2- to 3-inch round cutter can be used to form still-warm cookies into a more circular shape, if desired. Place cutter around 1 cookie; gently move cutter in a circular, counterclockwise motion while making contact with edges of cookie until desired shape is reached. Repeat as needed.
- Make Ahead: Recipe can be prepared through step 3 and refrigerated for up 1 to week. Bake as directed
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