One of my favorite Christmas memories is spending time baking with my mom and grandma. We never made anything fancy – just more traditional things like fudge, peanut brittle, shortbread cookies, divinity, and one of our family recipes for “potica,” a rolled, walnut and honey filled bread (I inherited my Grandma’s recipe but can never get it to turn out like hers!). For years, the only thing I asked for from Grandma was her homemade cinnamon and root beer hard candy and peanut brittle. I hoarded it throughout the year!

When I was asked to help judge the cookie contest at Garden Gallery Iron Works in Hubbard last weekend, I quickly said “yes!” With a 14-month-old baby, full-time retail job and six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, I could still enjoy cookies without me actually taking the time to do the baking myself. Perfect!

I had so much fun with the other two judges, but it was tough for us to decide between 30-plus entries. I was surprised at some of the unique ingredients used (bacon? Pinto beans and chili powder?) and how some of the traditional cookies were given a unique spin. They were all beautifully presented and anyone would be thrilled to see a plate of them show up on their doorstep. After an hour of mulling everything over and re-tasting several finalists, we chose a winner. It was the one cookie all three of us kept talking about – the tastes were so simple, but the flavors reminded all of us of the good old days and Grandma’s kitchen.

I’m so happy to share this recipe and hope that it becomes part of your family tradition – I know it will soon be part of mine!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

by: KRISTY KUMMER-PRED - These orange cranberry cookies were submitted to a contest by Korrin Petersen of Hubbard, who also won the contest.

By Korrin Petersen (Hubbard)

  • 1 c. softened butter
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 2 T. orange juice
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Icing:

  • 1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 3 T. orange juice
  • 1 1/2 c. confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in the orange zest and juice. Combine the flour, soda and salt together, then stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries and walnuts until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, at least two inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes. For icing, mix together in small bowl the orange zest, juice, and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle on top of the cooled cookies and let stand until set.

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