Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

For as long as I can remember, my extended family has held an annual cookie decorating/cookie exchange party every December.  As a child, this event was one of the highlights of the Christmas season since we basically got to eat as many cookies, sprinkles and frosting as we pleased.  More recently, I have come to look forward to the cookie exchange and seeing what creative, wonderful creations my aunts, cousins, and grandmother come up with every year.  I have been scouring cookbooks for the past week trying to think of a cookie to make that would be seasonal, delicious, but different and I finally found what I was looking for on with a recipe for Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries.    The genius of this recipe is that it uses a homemade paste of macadamia nuts in place of butter or margarine so that the only fat in the recipe comes from nuts.  The dough for these cookies was extremely crumbly and dry making it hard to work with, but the results were worth the effort.  The use of macadamia butter gives these cookies a dense, fudgy texture similar to a peanut butter cookie that contrasts well with the tart, chewy cranberries.  I will caution that these are not the  most attractive cookies in the world (the crumbly dough made them a bit lumpy looking once baked) so they may not be the best option if you want a beautiful cookie to give away.  However, I promise you will be able to look past the lumpy exterior once you take a bite and see how deliciously different these cookies taste.  Next week:  my favorite chocolatey holiday treat!