Melt-in-your-mouth Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are easy to make using staple pantry ingredients. These cookies are made with dried cranberries and orange zest and dipped in chocolate for a beautiful finish.
Take a bite of these shortbread cookies, and you will have a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth tender cookie that's citrus-flavored with the complement of dried cranberries. Sounds delicious?! Shortbread is one of the simplest cookies to make, and yet they are so comforting. They're perfect for an afternoon treat with a hot cup of coffee or a sweet gift for friends and neighbors.
Why this recipe works
- Buttery and tender cookies.
- The basic dough can be made with just four simple ingredients.
- Store baked cookies in an airtight container, and they will last up to 1 month.
- Pairs well with coffee and tea.
- Versatile dough that can pair well with any nuts, spices, or chocolate.
What is shortbread
Shortbread is a butter cookie made from four simple ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and salt. It can also have the addition of flavorings (such as this recipe). Traditionally a shortbread recipe has one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. They have a crisp texture, melt in your mouth, and pair well with coffee and tea.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Digital kitchen scale
2 small bowls
Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
2 baking sheet pans
Wire cooling rack
Allow all your ingredients to come to room temperature.
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
Butter is one of the four key ingredients used in making shortbread cookies. Always use unsalted butter as you can control the amount of salt that goes into the recipe. Always begin with softened butter.
Typically cookies use granulated or brown sugar as their sweetener. However, for a delicate melt-in-your-mouth cookie, powdered sugar is used in this recipe. For a slightly less tender cookie, you can substitute with granulated sugar. If you prefer a chewier cookie with a slight caramel flavor, then substitute with brown sugar.
All-purpose flour provides just the right balance between soft, tender cookies and chewy, dense cookies. If you were to substitute with cake flour, the cookies would easily fall apart. And using bread flour would result in a dense and chewy cookie.
How to make shortbread cookies
Cream butter and sugar. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
How long do you bake the cookies?
I recommend baking these cookies for 9-11 minutes in a 350°F/177°C preheated oven on the middle rack. When the cookies are done, you will know because the bottom edges will begin to turn a light golden brown. If you prefer a crunchy texture, leave the shortbread in the oven longer for all the edges to become golden brown.
How to dip cookies in chocolate
Melt chocolate. Add the chopped chocolate to a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted, smooth, and glossy. Remove the bowl from the saucepan.
Prepare sheet pan. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper.
Dip cookies. Dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate and place on the prepared sheet pan to allow to harden. To speed up the process, place the cookies on the pan and into the refrigerator for a few minutes.
What's the difference between shortbread and sugar cookies?
Although shortbread cookies look very similar to sugar cookies, there are two main differences. Unlike sugar cookies, shortbread does not have leaveners (baking powder or baking soda) or any egg. As a result, shortbread is slightly denser, less sweet, and has a buttery flavor compared to sugar cookies.
Tips and takeaways
- You can mix your favorite chopped nuts and spices into these shortbread cookies for variety.
- Rather than shaping the dough into a round log, you can shape it into a rectangular log. After refrigerating, slice the cookies and use the back of a skewer to indent a pattern on top for a traditional shortbread design.
- For extra texture and a pretty presentation, roll your cookie dough log into coarse sugar to coat the exterior before refrigerating.
If you love shortbread cookies, try these other recipes...
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies 1x
Melt-in-you-mouth Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies are easy to make using staple pantry ingredients. These cookies are made with dried cranberries and orange zest and are dipped in chocolate for a beautiful finish.
- 170 g (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 90 g (2/3 cup) powdered sugar
- 4 g (1 teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
- 2.8 g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
- zest of 1 orange
- 280 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 70 g (1/2 cup) dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 170 g (6 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the vanilla, salt, and orange zest to combine.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Add the cranberries and mix.
Shape the dough into a round log that's about 2-inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line two baking sheet pans with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4-inch (0.6mm) thick slices.
Place slices spaced an inch apart onto the prepared baking sheet pans. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges begin to turn lightly golden brown.
Transfer to a wire sheet to cool to room temperature.
Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted, smooth, and glossy. Dip ½ of each cookie in the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow to harden.
- Make-Ahead: The cookie dough can be made up to 1 week in advance. Tightly wrap and store in the refrigerator. Alternatively, it can be stored in the freezer tightly wrapped and in a freezer container for up to 2-3 months.
- Freezing: Baked cookies can be stored in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Cookies
Keywords: shortbread, holiday cookies, butter cookies, cranberry
Can I make these with fresh cranberries?
Hi Elizabeth! Yes, you can use fresh cranberries (you may need to increase the quantity). I would suggest giving the cranberries a rough chop. Sounds like a delicious swap 🙂 Happy Baking!
These were really easy to make and they taste great!
Hi Julie! So happy you enjoyed these cookies!
Mine turned out really crumbly and was difficult to roll. Any suggestions?
Hi Amber! Usually, crumbly dough is a result of the quantity of flour. I always recommend weighing flour for most accurate measurement. However, if you don't have a scale, you should always use the spoon and knife method to measure flour. Spoon flour into your measuring cup and level with the back of a knife. Never scoop your measuring cup into the floor. If there is excess flour this results in a crumbly texture.