This Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookie recipe is nothing short of delicious. After a few tweaks to the original recipe, I’m seriously obsessed. I made them as a holiday treat but I could also see them being a great summer goodie to have on hand. It contains the buttery-goodness of a shortbread cookie but is punctuated with flavor and the cranberry-orange combo. I seriously need to make another batch.
Another great perk of this recipe is that it is a great make-ahead dessert. After you’ve prepared the dough, you can leave it in the fridge for up to 72 hours or even freeze it until you are ready to bake.
Ready to make your own?
Before I launch into the actual recipe, allow me to recommend two kitchen utensils that will not only make this recipe easier, but your life, as well.
No, they aren’t necessary for the recipe, or for life, but you won’t regret your purchase.
Anytime a recipe calls to “cut in” butter, I pull this baby out and let it do the hard work for me. Before I had my pastry cutter, I would just have to use my hands to get the butter all crumbly. Well, gross-hands no more. My new friend, the pastry cutter saves me lots of hassle.
This is one of my favorite kitchen tools. A standup zester wouldn’t stand a chance in a duel with a microplane zester like this one. I use this to not only make lemon and orange zest, but also for garlic, nutmeg, ginger, etc. Save yourself some knuckle skin and snag one of these little guys.
OK, enough of my favorite kitchen gadgets. On to the recipe!
Cranberry-Orange Shortbread Cookies
Make your dough following the directions below.
I wrapped mine up in parchment paper and then some press and seal to keep it air tight while it chilled. Simple plastic wrap will work as well.
After dough has chilled for at least 2 hours in the fridge, pull it out and slice it into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. I like mine a little thicker so I chopped mine a bit more generously.
Place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet while resisting the urge to devour the cookie dough.
Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Mine took all of 12 minutes because of their thickness.
Let them cool a bit before removing. Now, stack them up real pretty and take some pictures of your magnificent creation.
Oh wait, that’s just me.
When my kids get older, they are going to think I’m so weird because I take pictures of everything I make.
I’d recommend an accompanying glass of milk.
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar, divided
- 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange (I used 4 clementines)
- ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
- additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add cranberries and ¼ cup of sugar into a food processor and process just until the cranberries are broken down into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and remaining sugar. Give it a stir.
- Use a pastry blender to cut in butter. You want very fine crumbs. If you don't have a pastry blender, just used your hands!
- Stir in the vanilla, processed cranberries and and orange zest.
- Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Work the dough JUST until it comes together - you don't want to over-work it.
- Shape dough into a log about two inches in a diameter and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper with plastic wrap on top of that. Refrigerate for two hours or up to 72 hours or freeze at this point.
- When ready to cook, thaw (if necessary) and cut slices of cookie dough about ¼-1/2 inch thick.
- Place about a half a cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the cookie slices with sugar (optional).
- Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes or just until cookies are set. Do not over bake. Since I cut mine about ½ inch thick, mine took 12 minutes. If you cut them thinner, decrease cooking time.
- Let cookies cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
- Store in airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Roll dough in to loaf/log shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and then a layer of press and seal, if possible. Put dough in freezer and store for up to 3 months.
Let dough thaw in refrigerator overnight and cook as directed.