A nice thing to have around during the holidays, but don't expect them to stay around long. These orange-flavored cranberry cookies are tart and delicious, not to mention beautiful. A real favorite of my kids.
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 a few before I sat down to write this.
The orange zest provides a refreshing zing that is the perfect counterpart to the tart cranberries. It’s a lovely combination!
I used the 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 Cranberry Orange 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.
- 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!
Cranberry Orange Cookies
- 2 ½ c Flour
- ¾ c Sugar divided
- ½ c Dried Cranberries
- 1 c Butter cold and cubed
- 1 tsp Almond extract
- Zest of an Orange
- 2 tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
- Additional Sugar for Coating Cookies
- Combine cranberries and ¼ cup sugar into the food processor and pulse until broken down into smaller pieces.
- Combine flour, remaining sugar in a large bowl.
- Cut butter into flour mixture. You want very fine crumbles
- Stir in almond extract, cranberry mixture, orange zest, and orange juice
- Knead the dough until it comes together and form into a ball. If it is too crumbly add more orange juice 1 tbsp at a time.
- Shape into a log about 2 inches in diameter; wrap in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 72 hours.
After Chilling the Dough
- Preheat Oven 325° F
- Cut slices into ¼ inch thick cookies
- Coat cookies in sugar
- Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until set
- Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.