Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are simple, buttery, and tender. The base shortbread recipe consists of only six ingredients, and adding orange zest and dried cranberries takes them to a new level. Make the cookie dough in advance, freeze, and bring them out over the holidays!
Ever since making my Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies last holiday season, I’ve been itching to make another version. These cookies are just so many things, and I think they work so well during the holidays when we’re all hustling and bustling.
- combine simple ingredients
- the orange and cranberries go SO great together (trust me)
- perfect to make in advance
- easy to slice-n-bake
- so many options to decorate with different kinds of chocolate and sprinkles (like nuts, candies, sprinkles, etc.)
That’s why I’ve kept a few rolls of these in my freezer during the holidays. I love the simplicity, the taste…all of it!
Ingredients needed for Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies:
- Butter – We’re using unsalted butter for these cookies so we can control the salt. Make sure you let your butter come to room temperature by sitting it out on the countertop for an hour or so.
- Brown Sugar – Love the taste of brown sugar in cookies, and it’s perfect in these shortbread cookies.
- Almond Extract – This adds a distinct flavor, but regular vanilla could be used as a replacement if you don’t have it.
- Egg – One egg at room temperature.
- Orange Zest – Zest one entire orange for these cookies. You should get approximately two tablespoons.
- Salt – These need a little more salt than other cookies.
- Flour – All-purpose flour works best.
- Cranberries – One whole cup of Craisins is best. I usually go with the lower sugar version.
- White Chocolate – Just use some Ghirardelli white chocolate for drizzling on top of the baked cookies.
How to make Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies:
- Combine the wet ingredients. In a large standing mixer, combine the butter and sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. Add the almond extract, egg, and orange zest – and mix again until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients. To the mixing bowl, add the salt, flour, and dried cranberries – and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix.
- Form into logs. Take the dough and dump onto a floured surface. Use your hands to form into two evenly shaped logs. Wrap in cling wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- Bake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the shortbread logs into about 22 – 24 even pieces. Place cookie dough onto two baking sheets, and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown slightly. Remove to cooling racks.
- Top. Top the baked cookies with some extra orange zest, and then drizzle with some melted white chocolate.
Storing: Store these cookies on your countertop for up to four days.
Freezing: You can freeze the dough logs or the baked cookies for up to three months. Wrap tightly and place in freezer-safe bags.
What is a shortbread cookie?
According to Wikipedia, shortbread is a Scottish biscuit traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. Other ingredients like ground rice or cornflour are sometimes added to alter the texture.
These however, are an adaptation of Ina Garten’s recipe. (I LOVE watching her cook on Food Network.) I made several changes by 1) making a smaller recipe, 2) using brown sugar instead of white, 3) using almond extract instead of vanilla extract, 4) adding an egg, 5) changing the proportions slightly, and adding the orange zest and dried cranberries.
Below, you can see how firm the dough is, and how easy it is to wrap in cling wrap and stick in the freezer. When you remove them from the freezer, simply let them sit on the counter (or in the refrigerator) for an hour or so, and they’ll be good to go.
Other Holiday Cookies you’re gonna love!
- Best Ever Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Easy Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- M&M Monster Cookies
- Soft and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies
- Easy Homemade Toffee
Kitchen Tools Used: (affiliate links)
Make these cookies next: Mini Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
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Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter – at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 large egg – at room temperature
- orange zest – from one orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dried cranberries – Craisins
- 2 oz. white chocolate – or more for drizzling
- In a large standing mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add almond extract, the egg, and the orange zest, and mix again.
- Then add the dry ingredients – the salt, flour, and dried cranberries. Mix until just combined. Don't over-mix.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into two oblong shapes. (See pictures in post.) Wrap each log in cling wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice dough into 22 – 24 pieces. Place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 13 – 15 minutes, or until the the edges just start to brown slightly. Remove cookies to cooling racks.
- Add extra orange zest, and then drizzle some melted white chocolate on top.