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November 20, 2009

Vegan Cranberry Shortbread Sandwiches

Sandwich Cookie

Marilyn Lapidus Baer

This recipe may seem daunting at first, but it is well worth the effort!

Makes 18 very festive sandwiches.

Shortbread:

½ cup dried cranberries (see note below about drying cranberries)
½ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 T. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
¾ cup cold unsalted vegan margarine cut in ½ inch pieces

Whipped fillling:

½ cup vegan whipping cream (unsweetened)
4 oz. vegan cream cheese, softened
¼ cup powdered sugar (eliminate or use less if vegan whipping cream is already sweetened)
½ tsp. vanilla
Fudge Sauce (below)
Dried cranberries for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In small bowl, combine dried cranberries and crushed red pepper, if desired, and cover with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes, and then drain.
2. In food processor bowl combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder. Add margarine. Pulse a few times, then, add cranberries. Pulse until dough begins to clump together. Remove from processor. Gather dough and press on a large sheet of parchment into a free-form square. Cover with a second sheet of parchment and roll between the two sheets of parchment paper to a 12x9-inch rectangle. With knife, cut thirty-six 3x1 inch pieces (do not separate). Slide parchment onto baking sheet and remove top parchment.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven. Cool on wire rack.
4. For whipped filling, in bowl combine vegan whipping cream, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. To assemble, break apart the shortbread. Spread flat side of 18 rectangles with scant tablespoon of whipped filling. Top with remaining shortbread, flat side down.
6. Garnish with Fudge Sauce and sprinkle on additional cranberries.

Fudge Sauce:

Melt ¾ Cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips (carefully if using microwave).
Add ½ Cup vegan whipping cream (or plain soy milk), a little at a time, stirring until smooth and shinny but not too thick or thin.
Dip sandwich and place on wax paper to cool.

Drying Your Own Cranberries:

Purchasing dried cranberries by the package is sometimes costly, but you can dry your own following this relatively simple approach. An added benefit is that these will have no added sugar.

1 bag fresh cranberries

First wash and then plunge the cranberries into boiling water for 15-30 seconds, just until the skin 'pops.' Stop the cooking action by placing berries in ice water. Drain on paper towels. Turn on the oven for 10 minutes at 350°F. Place the cranberries on a cookie sheet in the oven, turn off the oven and let sit for 2 hours. Turn the oven back on to 200°F, and let them sit for 1 ½ hours or until just sticky and no longer wet. Turn off the oven and let sit for several more hours. Once cool and dry, they can be kept at refrigerator temperatures for 18 to 24 months or in a freezer for 5 to 8 years.

Use dried cranberries in much the same way you would use raisins. 

This recipe was adapted from “Better Homes and Gardens”, November 2009 and "veganized" by Marilyn Lapidus Baer.

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