One of my favorite holiday traditions is making plates of cookies to deliver to family and friends. I love the ritual of spending time in the kitchen working on recipes and putting together delicious plates of treats for all of my favorite people. Driving around to deliver the plates is the perfect excuse to stop by and visit for a few minutes and check out all of the beautiful Christmas decorations.
Cranberry and orange are such a perfect flavor combination- I’ve used them together in countless bars, scones, and cookies, but this shortbread might be a new family favorite. A splash of almond extract really sets off the flavor of the orange and dried cranberries and the buttery texture of the shortbread cookie will melt in your mouth. The dough comes together easily in a food processor, and after a few hours chilling in the fridge you can slice the cookies and stick them in the oven. These will be perfect for a holiday cookie plate or as a standalone treat with a cup of tea next to your Christmas tree.
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
These Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies have the perfect shortbread texture and lots of flavor from the dried cranberries, orange juice and zest, and almond extract.
Soak dried cranberries in warm water for about 20 minutes, then drain and dry well.
Place the sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is fine crumbs.
Combine the orange juice and almond extract in a small bowl, then pour into the food processor and pulse until partially combined. Add the cranberries and orange zest and pulse until it is a shaggy dough.
Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the dough onto the plastic wrap. Use your hands to knead it into a cohesive log that approximately 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the plastic and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into cookies that are 1/4 inch thick. Dip both sides of the cookie in coarse sugar, then place on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the bottom edges are just beginning to turn light brown (be careful not to overbake; the cookies should remain light-colored).
Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
A former member of CROPP’s Sustainability Department, Annie has relocated to Indiana but remains a CROPPie at heart. Annie has a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and continues to work in the field of environmental sustainability. When she and her yellow lab Boomer aren't outside exploring local hiking trails, Annie can usually be found in the kitchen. While she cooks for subsistence, Annie’s real passion lies in creating indulgent baked goods for friends and family.