These slice-and-bake cranberry orange shortbread cookies are the Best. Cookies. Ever. And they're ridiculously easy. Keep a dough log in the freezer so you can slice and bake them when needed.
Make some for Christmas. Or just because.
When my kids were young, we always did lots and lots of Christmas cookies. They took them to school. We did neighborhood cookie swaps. And they loved arranging them in cookie tins and giving them out to their friends.
I miss those days, but since I don't need to have so many sweets sitting around looking at me, longing to be eaten each day, I've scaled back.
Now, I do just a few holiday cookies. Our family favorites are Spiced Dark Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices (I know, not a cookie at all, but delicious nonetheless), Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread, and these Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies.
I just don't think it would feel like Christmas without these three treats!
Shortbread Cookie Ingredients and Substitutions
I love the combination of cranberry and orange. Especially around the holidays. And since I'm partial to almonds, I use almond extract and chopped almonds too.
But if you're not an almond lover, swap the almond extract with vanilla extract instead. Or use orange extract if you like your shortbread extra orangy.
And for the nuts, you can try chopped walnuts, pistachios, pecans, or leave them out altogether.
If you have time, browse through the comments below this recipe post. It seems that these cookies are a new favorite for SO many people. And many have left helpful feedback and clever ways to adapt this recipe to their taste.
No matter what you add, you'll agree that these shortbread cookies are so ridiculously easy and deliciously melt-in-your-mouth buttery.
How To Freeze These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
The best thing about this shortbread dough is that it freezes incredibly well. That means you can make it in advance and do your cooking baking on an "as needed" basis.
Just prepare the dough and roll it into a log. I usually double the recipe so I have two dough logs in the freezer.
Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap. Give them a nice roll while they're wrapped in plastic, to smooth out any rough edges. Seal up the edges of the plastic wrap so the edges of your dough don't dry out in the freezer. I usually put the logs into a large freezer storage bag for extra protection.
Then, just pop the in the freezer (be careful they don't get squished) and keep them there until you're ready to use them. You can freeze this dough for up to three months.
When you're ready to bake cookies, take your dough out of the freezer and let it thaw for 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, it will be too hard to cut and your cookies will crumble.
If you prefer to bake your cookies and then freeze them, that works perfectly well too.
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup confectioner's powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ⅔ cup sliced almonds, toasted or other finely chopped nuts
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries chopped
- Place butter, powdered sugar, almond (or vanilla) extract and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer.
- Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low, and gradually add flour and orange zest. Mix until a dough forms.
- Stir in almonds and cranberries with a spatula.
- Pat dough into a ball, and then form into a log shape, about 2-inches in diameter.
- Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and freeze until firm, about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a cookie sheet or line with a silpat baking liner.
- Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into ½-inch thick slices.
- Place on cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden. Check them after 10 minutes as ovens can vary!
- Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.
Are you baking this holiday season? What's your favorite cookie?