Cranberry orange shortbread cookies combine my two favorite winter flavors into a buttery, rich cookie that everyone will love! You’re going to want to add these cookies to your holiday baking list!
I may be in the minority on this one but I actually really like shortbread cookies. I think a lot of people just haven’t had good shortbread cookies, which is why sometimes shortbread cookies are the last ones eaten. Most people associate shortbread cookies as crumbly and dry but nah-uh, not these cranberry orange shortbread cookies. They’re perfectly buttery and melt-in-your mouth and have just the right bite!
Now these cranberry orange shortbread cookies are definitely different than your average shortbread cookie because they incorporate (what I think) is the best winter flavor combination for desserts. Cranberry and orange always reminds me of cooler weather, but of course you don’t necessarily have to save cranberry and orange for the cooler weather. Whenever I go to bakeries and see that there is cranberry orange muffins or a cranberry orange loaf, I immediately gravitate towards them.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
Well, I guess I need to convince you to make these shortbread cookies. Here are some reasons why you’ll love them:
- They have balanced flavor. You get the butteriness of the shortbread but then you get the sweet and mild tartness from the cranberry and to round it out, the brightness from the citrus. I’m telling you, the combination is simply irresistible!
- They’re the perfect make-ahead cookie. You can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to four days until you need to slice and bake them. Additionally, you may pre-cut out the cookies and freeze them for 1 hour on cookie sheets. Then they can be kept in freezer bags for up to 2 months. When baking, you will just want to add an extra 2 minutes to the baking time to bake from frozen.
- They’re straightforward. These are an easy, straightforward cookie to make if you’re not into all the glitz and glam and complications of some other cookies.
- These are extra. Yes, you read that right. These cranberry orange shortbread cookies are a little EXTRA because of the white chocolate drizzle on top. I couldn’t resist adding that!
Ingredients You’ll Need
For exact measurements, be sure to scroll to the bottom for the recipe card.
- Salted butter
- Almond extract – this helps round out the flavors of the shortbread.
- Cornstarch – this may seem like a totally weird ingredient to be putting in these shortbread cookies but trust me, it helps give these shortbread cookies a tender texture and a more melt-in-your mouth feel.
- Orange zest
- Dried cranberries
- White chocolate – for that extra look and feel!
How to Make Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
Here’s how to make the shortbread cookies. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for detailed instructions.
Prep. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cream the fat and sugar. Cream together the butter and sugar then mix in the almond extract.
Whisk the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour and cornstarch then add it to the butter and sugar mixture. Blend until incorporated.
Add the flavorings. Stir in the orange zest and dried cranberries.
Roll out the dough and cut. Onto a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and then use a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.
Bake. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until they turn golden in color. Set on a wire rack to cool when done baking.
Melt the chocolate. While the cookies are cooling, melt the white chocolate then either take a fork and drizzle white chocolate on top of the cookies or use a plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner and squeeze it onto the cookies.
Tips for Success
- Due to the butter content in these cookies, they will spread a bit while baking so make sure to leave some space between each cookie.
- Don’t over-bake them! If one of the reasons you don’t like shortbread cookies is because they’re hard and too crisp, then you will definitely want to keep an eye on these!
- If you want that smooth, rounded look for your cookies you can bake them for 10 minutes then pull them out of the oven and set the cookie cutter just carefully around the edge of a cookie and move in a circular motion to shape the cookie and smooth the edges, then return them to the oven to finish baking.
These shortbread cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or in the fridge for 10 days. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- I don’t have any almond extract – what else could I use? Vanilla extract is a great substitute in this recipe.
- I don’t have any cornstarch – what would you recommend? You could leave that out and use an extra 2 Tablespoons of flour instead.
- I’m not a fan of white chocolate – is there something else that could be drizzled on instead? Yes! You could make a plain sugar glaze by mixing 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 Tablespoons of water, or milk. But an especially nice alternative would be 1 cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tablespoons of orange juice. If you don’t want a sugar glaze, milk or dark chocolate would work too.
Other Cookies You’ll Want to Make
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1 ½ cup (341 g) salted butter
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 ½ cups (313 g) flour
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons orange zest
- 1 cup (121 g) dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 2 ounces (57 g) white chocolate, melted
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F (163 °C)
- Cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in the almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cornstarch.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend until incorporated.
- Mix in the orange zest and dried cranberries.
- Onto a well-floured surface, roll the dough out to about a ¼ inch thick. Cut out the cookies with a 2.5 inch cookie cutter.
- Place the cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the cookies at 325 °F (163 °C) for 12 minutes. (Or until just turning golden on the edges.)
- When the cookies have cooled completely, use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate over them or similarly, place into a plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner to drizzle on top of cookies.
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