Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies combine two of my favorite holiday flavors in one easy to make cookie that will wow friends and family this year! 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 shortbread cookies to your holiday baking list this season!
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
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 irresisitble.
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 under bake by just a few minutes – under bake 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!
What You Need to Make Shortbread Cookies
- Almond Extract – I mentioned it before and I’ll say it again, this is really the best extract for these cookies. If you absolutely cannot find almond, use vanilla.
- Dried Cranberries – I used Craisins but any brand will work.
- An Orange – you will use the orange for both the zest and juice called for in the recipe. One will be plenty.
- Butter – Please, use only real butter, not margarine. This recipe will not work with margarine.
- Flour. You’ll note my very specific instructions below regarding how the flour should be measured. Please take note 🙂
- Sugar. Both in the cookies and then again to roll them in. This is what gives them that pretty exterior.
That’s just six ingredients you guys – SIX!
Between the almond extract, shorter cooking time, and sugar coating – you might find shortbread cookies becoming your new favorite!
How To Make Shortbread Cookies
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1/2 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 optional
- additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine cranberries and 1/4 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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