OK, so yes, we completed the Seven Days of Cookies, but in the course of all that baking, I came across a recipe from Alice Medrich that cried out to be tried. So even though I’ve been rolling [in] dough for a week, I had to make one more batch of cookies.
These are called Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares. The recipe is from Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies. These are beyond delicious, a crispy-chewy sandwich of delightfulness.
- Alice says these cookies can be customized to your taste through your choice of fruit and spice. I love cranberry and orange so I used dried cranberries and candied orange peel with just a touch of cinnamon.
- Make sure your fruit is moist! If it’s not, Alice says to soak it in water, juice or spirits for about 20 minutes (any longer and it will be too mushy to use). Pat dry before using.
- Do the best you can when rolling the dough. It was a bit sticky so I rolled it between two pieces of parchment, flipping it several times and smoothing the paper. Even then I fell short of the desired 16.5 inch length.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this cookie. I knew it would be good (Medrich, dried fruit, butter), but I wasn’t prepared for just how good. The kind of good that makes you laugh out loud.
Which is truly the best way to conclude a “baker’s dozen” of Seven Days of Cookies.
Enjoy! And have a beautiful Christmas!
Pebbly Beach Fruit Squares
Adapted from Alice Medrich
1 3/4 c plus 2 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
Finely grated zest of one medium lemon and one smallish orange
1/2 c moist candied orange peel
½ c moist dried cranberries (coarsely chopped to about the same size as the orange peel)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup crystal sugar
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl (with a mixer set on low), beat butter with the granulated sugar until smooth and well blended but not fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and both zests, and beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix until completely incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and form each into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Wrap the patties in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the dried fruits with the cinnamon.
Remove dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes to soften slightly.
On a sheet of parchment at least 17 inches long, roll one piece of dough into a rectangle 8.5 inches by 16.5 inches. With a short side facing you, scatter half of the dried fruit on the bottom half of the dough. Fold top half of the dough over fruit, using the paper as a handle. Gently peel paper from the top of dough. (If it sticks, chill dough for a few minutes until the paper peels easily.)
Press the top of the dough down lightly, then dust with half of the coarse sugar, again patting it lightly to make sure the sugar adheres. Use a heavy knife to trim the edges. Then cut it into 4 strips and then cut each strip into 4 pieces to make 16 squares. Place cookies 2 inches apart on lined or greased cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining dough, fruit, and sugar.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Rotate pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Let cool on sheets for about 10 minutes, then move to racks to cool completely.
Cookies keep in an airtight container for a week. Yields 24 to 32 squares. I wasn’t able to roll my dough to the full 16.5 inches so I ended up with about 24 cookies.
These are insane.