These Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies are so festive and perfect for parties, gifting or Christmas cookie exchanges.
The combination of orange and cranberry just screams Christmas to me. The crisp, bright flavors are a nice contrast to your typical holiday cookies. These Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies are so pretty, almost a centerpiece in themselves, and pretty easy to make.
This recipe is versatile and the shortbread cookies can be served with a decorative swirl of icing, as a sandwich cookie, or on their own without any icing.
Cook’s Note – Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies:
- Be careful not to over-beat the butter. When making shortbread cookies you do not want to beat a lot of air into the butter, you want more of a dense cookie than a fluffy one!
- If you make these into sandwich cookies, you will only need half of the icing recipe below.
- Frosted Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies will keep, in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving.
- This recipe calls for cranberry jam. You can use store-bought or make your own from this recipe.
- You’ll need Sugared Cranberries for this Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies recipe.
- For the Shortbread:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (from 1 large orange)
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For the Icing:
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup cranberry jam
- 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- whole milk as needed
- Sugared Cranberries, optional
- For the Shortbread: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with hand beaters, beat butter on medium speed for 30-60 seconds, or until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla, and orange zest; beat on medium speed until combined.
- Add flour, cornstarch, and salt and beat until combined. Place the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a round, flat disk. Wrap up the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- After an hour remove the dough from the refrigerator, and line two cookie sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Lightly flour your counter and roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough and place cut dough on the prepared cookie sheets. Chill the cookie sheets in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F while the cookie sheets are chilling. At the end of the 30 minute chill time, pop the cookie sheets into the oven and bake 14-16 minutes or until the cookies start to turn a pale golden color around the edges.
- Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
- For the Icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium mixing bowl with hand beaters, beat butter until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cranberry jam and mix until combines, about 30-60 seconds.
- Add the sugar and pulse until combined, then beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer the icing to piping bag fitted with a 1M tip and frost cookies. Garnish with a sugared cranberry (optional).