A delightfully easy cookie recipe that yields sensational results! I’m sharing three secrets to the perfect shortbread cookies that no one can resist! Make sure to add these easy Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies to your holiday baking list this season!
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Oh! Shortbread cookies….yeah, not a fan”, then I’m going to blow your mind and tell you that the shortbread you’ve had in the past wasn’t made right. True shortbread is buttery, melt-in-your mouth goodness that should be completely irresisitible.
Too many shortbread cookies are over-baked resulting in an overly-dry cookie that isn’t easily enjoyed. The simple trick to a great shortbread cookie is to underbake by just a few minutes – underbake meaning bake just until the cookie is done and not until you’ve killed it. Poor things.
I used my favorite shortbread base for these cookies – the same one I used last year in my Peppermint Shortbread (a truly amazing cookie that’s perfect for the holidays). Shortbread cookies are great because they require just a handful of ingredients – no eggs – and very little time.
They’re also perfect for the busy holidays because you can make up the cookie dough, set it in the fridge, and then bake when you have more time. The cookies you see here were sitting in the fridge for four days, and then on the counter for three days before I got around to photographing them.
They’re still remarkably delicious. I should know. I just ate three before I sat down to write this :)
I was going to go with cranberries and pecans before talking to my sister Melissa. She encouraged the cranberry orange combination and, as usual, she was right. The orange zest provides a refreshing zing that is the perfect counterpart to the tart cranberries. It’s a lovely combination!
I used almond extract to keep the cookies lighter and because almond and cranberry and orange is an incredible flavor profile.
For an extra pretty presentation, I coat the cookies in sugar before baking. They come out so sparkly that no one can resist them! These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies absolutely should make an appearance on your holiday cookie trays this year!
Between the almond extract, shorter cooking time, and sugar coating – you might find shortbread cookies becoming your new favorite!
- ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
- ¾ cups sugar, divided
- 2½ cups all purpose flour - spooned and leveled, not scooped
- 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
- 1 tsp almond extract
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 to 2 tbsp of fresh orange juice (otional)
- additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine cranberries and ¼ cup of sugar in a food processor and process just until the cranberries are broken down into smaller pieces. Set aside.
- Combine flour and remaining sugar in a large bowl.
- Use a pastry cutter to cut in butter. You want very fine crumbs.
- Stir in extract, cranberries and sugar mixture, orange zest and orange juice (optional).
- Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Work the dough until it comes together.
- Shape dough into a log about two inches in a diameter and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or up to 72 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Cut slices of cookie dough about ¼ inch thick.
- Place about a half a cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the cookie slices with sugar.
- Place cookies on baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or just until cookies are set. Do not over bake. I pull mine at 12 minutes.
- 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.
Got a fierce cranberry craving? I gotcha covered.
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Have a great day!