These Cranberry Shortbread Cookies are rich, crisp and melt in your mouth delicious! They are flavored with vanilla and orange, filled with dried cranberries and topped with white chocolate frosting. The recipe is super simple to make.
Everyone loves these Cranberry Shortbread Cookies. They’re rich and at the same time fresh tasting thanks to the orange zest and cranberries. They are perfect for gift giving and cookie boxes and couldn’t be easier to make!
This recipe was inspired by my Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies. I had a lot of requests for an orange cranberry version, so this is it.
- Butter: We are using room temperature, unsalted butter.
- Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness. It also gives these cookies their soft texture.
- Orange Zest
- Orange Juice
- Vanilla Extract
- 1 Egg Yolk
- Dried Cranberries: Cranberries add a beautiful pop of color. They also add a touch of tart, sweet flavor. I recommend finely chopping the cranberries. This makes it easier to slice or cut the cookies out. Also, more bits means there’s more cranberry throughout!
- Walnuts: I recommend finely chopping the walnuts. Walnuts are optional and can be left out if you prefer.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Below are steps on how to make these white chocolate cranberry shortbread cookies. Please see recipe card below for complete list of instructions and ingredients.
Step One: Cream the butter and sugar. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.
Step Two: Add the orange, vanilla and egg yolk. With the mixer running, add the orange zest, juice, and vanilla, followed by the egg yolk.
Step Three: Add the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
Step Four: Add the cranberries and walnuts (if using). Stir in the cranberries and walnuts until just incorporated.
Step Five: Shape the dough. There are two options for shaping the dough/cutting out the cookies. You can roll it into a log or roll it out.
Roll the dough into a log: Shape the dough into a 10 inch log. Wrap with parchment paper and/or plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
Roll out the dough: Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half on a sheet of parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour. Place each half on a tray and cover each tray with plastic wrap. Chill for two hours.
Step Six: Slice or cut out cookies.
For slice and bake: Slice the cookies. Place them on parchement paper lined baking sheet and chill.
For cookie cutters: Cut cookies out in the shapes you like. Place them all on a baking sheet and chill them again.
Step Seven: Bake. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Top with white chocolate frosting and sprinkles and enjoy!
Hint: This second chilling will help the cookies firm up and keep them from spreading too much while baking.
Here are my best tips for making these cranberry orange shortbread cookies.
Tip #1: Roll the dough out before chilling it. This is a soft, easy dough to work with. It’s easiest to roll out before you chill it.
Tip #2: Don’t use too much flour when rolling the dough out. If you roll the dough out, roll it out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Use only as much flour as you need to prevent the dough from sticking.
Tip #3: Run a knife under the dough. Once the dough has chilled, run a bench scraper or a large knife gently under the cookie dough to help unstick it from the parchment paper. This will help you lift the cookies off the paper once you cut them out.
Use any cookie cutter you want to use! I used and trees when I made these, but they would be cute with any type of cookie cutter. These cranberry walnut shortbread cookies are also pretty with heart cookie cutters for Valentine’s Day.
Yes! If you want to make little cookie sandwiches, you can. I used my cranberry sauce recipe from my Orange Cranberry Pound Cake. You can also use store bought cranberry sauce. You can also choose not to add any filling.
Both are great options! These cookies are so pretty, so I decided to pipe mine on. Piping it on meant my cookies got some yummy white chocolate frosting but you could still see the cranberries and orange zest in the dough!
You can use a piping bag and small round tip. If you don’t have a piping tip, you can just fill up a zip lock sandwich bag and snip off a little bit of a corner. Twist the top to make sure the frosting doesn’t spill out. You can also simply just grab a spoon or a knife and spread the frosting on.
STORING AND FREEZING
Room Temperature: Store these cranberry orange shortbread cookies in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Freezer: Freeze these orange shortbread cookies in an airtight for up to 2 months. Defrost them in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Cranberry Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 3 teaspoons orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries finely chopped
- 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
- sprinkles any kind, optional
- extra dried cranberries optional for decoration (see visual above of wreath)
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING*
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 5 ounces white chocolate melted and cooled slightly
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
FOR THE CRANBERRY SAUCE FILLING, OPTIONAL
- One recipe cranberry sauce from this Orange Cranberry Pound Cake
THE CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
- Sift together the flour and salt and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add the orange zest, juice and vanilla followed by the egg yolk. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter top.
- IF YOU'RE ROLLING THE DOUGH INTO A LOG: form the dough into a 10 inch log. Roll it in plastic wrap and chill the dough for about 2 hours or until firm. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the cookie dough into rounds about 1/4″ in size. Place them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 ” apart. If making cranberry wreaths, gently press dried cranberries in the dough once cookies have been cut out and before chilling them. Continue to step 5.
- IF ROLLING OUT THE DOUGH: Once the dough has been mixed, divide it in half. Roll each half out on sheets of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour. Roll out to a circle about 1/4 inch thick. Place each circle on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill two hours in the refrigerator. Once chilled, take the dough out of the fridge. Lift the parchment paper off the tray and onto the counter. Run a long knife carefully between the parchment paper and the cookie dough. Use cookie cutters to cut out the cookies. Place the cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. If making cranberry wreaths, gently press dried cranberries in the dough once cookies have been cut out and before chilling them. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes. Continue to step 5.
- Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes then transfer them to racks to cool completely.
WHITE CHOCOLATE FROSTING
- Beat together the powdered sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until light and smooth, 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla, a pinch of salt and the melted white chocolate and beat until just combined.
TO DECORATE THE COOKIES
- Transfer half the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a small tip or ziplock bag and snip a very small portion of the corner off the bag. Pipe the icing on. Alternatively, use a knife to spread it on.