Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

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!

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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!

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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.

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!

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.

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!

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!

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Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2½ dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Combine flour and remaining sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Use a pastry cutter to cut in butter. You want very fine crumbs.
  5. Stir in extract, cranberries and sugar mixture, orange zest and orange juice (optional).
  6. Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Work the dough until it comes together.
  7. 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.
  8. Preheat oven to 325F.
  9. Cut slices of cookie dough about ¼ inch thick.
  10. Place about a half a cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the cookie slices with sugar.
  11. 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.
  12. Let cookies cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  13. Store in airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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!

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Comments

  1. These look amazing! I’m also very intrigued by the peppermint version. Yum.

    Kelsey – A Nerdy Family Blog

  2. I’m with you…shortbread is amazing. Such a simple, buttery flavor! I love the extra sprinkling of sugar on top, too!
    Julie @ Tastes of Lizzy T recently posted..Spinach Cream Cheese Roll Ups

  3. These look like an amazing addition to any holiday cookie plate! Can’t wait to try!
    Kristyn recently posted..Sweet Corn Bread

  4. These cookies would make a perfect addition to our Thanksgiving dessert table, Trish. They look so buttery and you can never go wrong with an orange and cranberry combo.
    Becca from It’s Yummi! recently posted..Easy Slow Cooker Recipes ~ Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  5. Seriously wishing that I had a few of these and a glass of milk to keep me company as I’m working tonight, Trish. They look absolutely amazing!

    BTW – Congrats on the new cookbook – can’t wait to get a copy!
    Melanie | Melanie Makes recently posted..Double Chocolate No Bake S’mores Pie

  6. Wow these do look incredible! I don’t make shortbread cookies often but I love the tip you just gave. I won’t be killing mine anymore now LOL ;-)
    Connie | URBAN BAKES recently posted..Pumpkin Monkey Bread Muffins with Cream Cheese

  7. Hands down my favorite combo on the fall, dare I say even over pumpkin! These sound amazing!

  8. I want to go make these right now! Shortbread cookies are my fave and I love anything cranberry orange. Adding these to my list to make for Santa!

  9. Yup :) So it could be one of two things, did you measure the flour correctly? And by that, I mean spooned and leveled. Two, there is ONE CUP of butter :) Make sure that all gets worked it and DO NOT try to roll into a log before your dough is altogether, it should not be falling apart crumbly. Hope that helps!

    • I appreciate your prompt reply. It might also be that I used margarine instead of butter. I took a science of cooking class a few years back and the higher saturated fat content of butter gives it better “shortening power” in baked goods. I also learned there that even if we both scooped and leveled 2 1/2 cups, we might have measured different amounts of flour by weight (which is why some people use food scales).

  10. Angie Valencia says:

    I’m making these tomorrow. The recipe asks for 3/4 cups of sugar divided. How much sugar actually is in the cookie.

    Thanks

    • In step 3, 1/4 cup gets processed with the cranberries, and then in step the remaining 1/2 cup gets blended with the flour. If you want to roll the cookies in sugar before baking (and you do!), that’s the last ingredient listed which says “additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired”. So maybe 1/2 cup or so? Hope this helps!

  11. Happy Thabksgiving!
    I just happen to have orange extract on hand, and was thinking about adding just a little bit to boost the orange flavor. What do you think? Should I add it or is the zest enough?

    • The zest was enough- the cookies are amazing, with the perfect blend of orange and cranberry. I have no idea how many dh and ds had, but it was a LOT, and neither of them like shortbread… usually.

      I put the dough in the food processor for a bit and used ‘pulse’ when my hands got too tired of kneading. That, with bouts in the fridge, worked well. About to make them again. Yummy.

    • I added an extra 1/4 tsp orange oil which boosted the orange flavor.

    • I’m not a fan of almond extract and I felt it overpowered the orange and cranberry flavors. In my second batch, I used orange extract instead of the almond and increased the orange zest a bit….. wonderful improvement!
      Vee recently posted..Cherry Almond Cupcakes + BIG GIVEAWAY!

  12. That was a terrific idea Kristie! Can’t wait to hear how they turn out! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Can this dough be frozen? If so, how long do you recommend thawing before baking?

  14. Im just wondering how you get the zest of orange. Thank you!

  15. Glad you were able to work it out Terry! Ten minutes was perfect for me but of course, it will depend on how thick you cut the cookies. If they look like they need another few minutes, let them bake a bit longer.

  16. My cookies came out very yummy. I squeezed a little bit of orange juice into the batter, after I cut the butter in by hand and then I finished with a few turns in the Kitchen Aid. Perfect, thank you for your recipe.

  17. Wonderful Kim! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  18. Shortbread is one of my favorites, and I’ve never combined it with cranberry and orange. Really can’t wait to give these a try!
    Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture recently posted..5 Last Minute Acupuncture Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Newsletter

  19. I too had the crumble issue, but didn’t think of orange juice. I popped it into the food processor ( half a batch at a time) and added about a 1/2 tsp. of water, pulsing after every few drips until it started sticking together. It’s in the fridge now as its too late to bake tonight. I can’t wait to see how they turn out tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!

  20. Toni Ragno says:

    I just made these today, they are delicious! After reading some comments about the difficulty in getting the dough to come together I decided to use my food processor; the dough came together in a snap. I added 1 tbsp of orange juice too. The only down side is that the blade chopped the craisins a little more fine than the cookies in the picture. The next time I’ll add the craisins about halfway thru the processing. Definitely a keeper! Thanks for the recipe!

  21. I brought these to Thanksgiving dinner and they disappeared so fast! Delicious!

  22. Lynnae darby says:

    Would I be able to use orange extract? My market is ALWAYS out of oranges 😩

  23. Is there a substitute for the almond extract? Maybe vanilla? My husband has a nut allergy. Thanks!

  24. Made these today and the flavor is amazing! I feel like maybe I should have cooked them at 350 instead of 325 for 10 min because they were still very raw. I thought maybe they were supposed to be chewy but now I’m thinking they’re not? I have the second batch in and I’m trying 20 min instead of 10.

  25. Olga Nimeck says:

    I am trying the Cranbeerry, Orange Cookies for the first time. I am a planner and like to get my bakin well before Christmas and freeze it. Can you freeze these cookies and when thawed out, will they be just as good.?
    Thanks

    Olga

    • Hi Olga! Yes, you can freeze these cookies. I wouldn’t say they are “as good” but they will still be delicious. You might also consider freezing the dough and baking closer to Christmas.

  26. I’m not sure what you mean but six log/balls? I just make it into one log… Spooning the flour is really critical because otherwise you’ll end up with two much flour – as much as 1/4 cup more.

  27. Hello,

    I will never understand why people are not weighing the ingredients. It’s so easy and you will always get the same result.

  28. Ann Bartlett says:

    Shortbread is by far my favorite as I do not like too sweet. I cannot wait to try the Cranberry Orange shortbread cookies!

  29. Bonny Piantino says:

    I made these last week and they are really good. Even though I sliced them 1/4″, I still had to bake them for at least 20 minutes or they would have been doughy in the middle. The orange zest gives these cookies a fresh flavor. This was my first attempt at shortbread and I was very pleased. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. I just made these and they turned out amazing! These are not going to last long in our house.