Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

After I saw this recipe posted by Two Red Bowls, I knew this was something that I had to make for the holiday season.

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They look like round coins, speckled with orange and cranberry.

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Excuse the upcoming late posts for what appear to be more DIY holiday gifts… I literally started baking less than a week before the big day and figured there was no way I’d be able to post everything before Christmas. I swear it felt like a cookie factory in my kitchen during the days leading up to Christmas – different cookies just sitting around cooling, a never-ending supply of cookie dough waiting to be baked, and a packing/ tagging station. It was fun times I tell you.

Now, back to the recipe: the only thing I changed from the original was that I substituted almond extract for orange juice because I wanted more orange flavor to come through.

This recipe is doubled from the original and I was able to make ~ 50 small cookies.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 C confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (omitted this)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated orange zest (one whole orange)
  • 1/4 C orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  1. Measure out cranberries in a bowl and add orange zest + juice. Allow mixture to soak for ~ 10 mins to allow flavors to blend.
  2. Cream butter for 2 mins until smooth. Add powdered sugar in several batches, beating until smooth after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla and orange-cranberry mixture to dough until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, stirring until the dough just comes together into a thick paste.
  6. Lay out 3 pieces of saran wrap and divide the dough into three piles – shape into 3 logs (~ 1 1/2 inches diameter), wrap them up and refrigerate for at least 1 hr (or freeze for 20 mins)
  7. Refrigerate dough for up to 3 days or freeze dough until ready to bake. (If baking from frozen, let logs stand at room temp for 10 mins)
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and space about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes or until pale golden.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and enjoy

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I love the combination of orange and cranberry any season, but I think it looks even prettier around the holiday season – just so festive! These cookies were soft, light, and buttery with just the slightest hint of orange. I brought them to our family’s annual Christmas lunch and I think its safe to say that they were a crowd pleaser.

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas filled with over-eating, sugar-overload, and good times – I know I did!

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9 thoughts on “Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies

  1. amazing I am sitting here eating your shortbread and your post came in Its alost like you saw me eating The shortbread was soo good I tried to post a comment but didn’t knpw how to send so I will ask Mike next time he comes Happy holiday

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  2. Eeeee YAY you made them! They look SO good. I’m so intrigued by the idea of adding orange juice — was the dough stickier? The cookies seem like they came out just wonderfully though. Love the idea of more orange flavor — I was addicted to eating that dough because it tasted just like a Creamsicle to me, ha. You made my Saturday, Janine! :) Merry belated Christmas and happy new year!

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    • Haha after I saw your post, I HAD to! Plus we have giant bags of cranberries so it was a good way to use them. Didn’t find the dough too sticky, felt like a regular shortbread dough to me – yes, you need to try with orange juice! Same to you – wishing you both a happy new year !

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  3. Pingback: Rugelach Cookies | the quiet baker

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