As far as cookie recipes go, this little beauty has become my new holiday staple. I first tried this recipe by Gourmet a couple of years ago but made too many substitutions. The cookies were extremely disappointing and I filed the card away in my recipe box until a bag of what was described as ‘the best pistachios you will ever eat’ arrived from my mother. The cookies are extremely festive, dotted with ruby red berries and dusty green nuts and extremely moorish, one is never enough. I used salted pistachios and so omitted the salt from the recipe. The salted nuts are perfectly offset with the sweet and chewy cranberries while the butter-rich dough melts in your mouth.

Albert Anker, Still Life: Two Glass of Red Wine, a bottle of Wine; a Corkscrew and a Plate of Biscuits on a Tray, oil on canvas, 43 x 40cm, Private collection

The swiss painter Albert Anker painted scenes of everyday village life. Over his career he painted over thirty still life paintings of both rural and urban table settings. The painting above illustrates Anker’s affinity with the work of Chardin, the still life master that heavily influenced his aesthetic. He sought to make his compositions assessable to the viewer while producing a harmonic arrangement through subtle colour and lighting.

{Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies}

Adapted from Gourmet
Yield: around 30 cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup shelled, salted pistachios
1/3 cup dried cranberries

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and orange zest until fluffy, around 3 minutes. Mix in the cinnamon and flour being careful not to overwork the dough. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Tear off two pieces of cling film. Divide the dough into two equal portions and wrap the cling film around each portion, forming a long log about 2 inches in diameter. Form the log into a long rectangle and repeat with the other portion of dough. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap the cling film. Slice the dough into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake in a 180C oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Use a spatula to move onto a cooling rack.