Christmas cookies, for me and Marisa, usually mean a nice long argument. The Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies were the third batch of cookies on the day, so we weren't our most delightful selves. After finally figuring out what the "missing" ingredient was, these buttery crumbly shortbread cookies came out perfectly. Who knew 1 stick of butter was only ½ a cup?
Shortbread cookies are something that was new to us. Marisa saw The Silos Holiday Baking Competition and wanted to try to recreate the Holiday Sandies. He made these big cakey cookies with a thick creamy frosting. We wanted to create a cookie that depicted the holidays and the cranberry orange shortbread cookies hit the nail right on the head.
The Shortbread Cookie Dough
The cookie dough is where our argument really started. Marisa only added 1 stick of butter to the mix, and when we mixed our first batch of dough, it wouldn't come together. We mixed it for over 20 minutes waiting for the dough to finally be ready.
After much trepidation, Marisa finally agreed to look back at her notes. Lo and behold, we forgot a stick of butter. So, every time she worries about anything, I just tell her, "don't worry, it'll come together."
Ingredients you'll need for the Shortbread Cookie Dough
- Unsalted Butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Arrowroot Starch
- Almond Extract
- Orange Zest
- Chopped Cranberries
In a standing mixer, combine all of the ingredients except the cranberries and orange zest. Mix the ingredients on medium for 3-5 minutes with the whisk attachment. Then mix on high for 3 minutes until it resembles a thick frosting. We don't want to overmix these cookies, but you do have to make sure they are completely mixed. Keep mixing if it hasn't developed a whipped texture.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of dough onto the parchment paper 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden.
Allow the shortbread cookies to cool on a wire rack completely before frosting them. The frosting will melt if you put it on too soon.
We made these cookies and frosting at night and then frosted them in the morning. The frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you're ready to frost the shortbread. Take the frosting out about 30 minutes before you're ready to frost.
Combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and orange extract in your standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium until combined and whipped. Pipe on the frosting or, spread using a spatula. The frosting gives the cookie some sweetness and extra zestiness. The perfect combination of crumbly and creamy. Top the frosting with more chopped cranberries and candied orange peel.
Cranberry orange shortbread cookies should be stored in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting. They will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. This recipe can easily be doubled to make two dozen cookies.
Baking Christmas cookies is one of those things you always overestimate. Our suggestion is to start with one batch of these cookies. They are really filling!
If you are looking for different Christmas cookies to try this year, try our dark chocolate peppermint sugar cookies. Hopefully, we'll keep adding to our Christmas cookie collection!
If you like these cookies let us know what you liked in the comments below! Follow us on Instagram @vindelgiudice for videos and more!
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot starch corn starch can be substituted
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ tablespoon orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup chopped cranberries, plus more for topping
- ¼ cup candied orange peel for topping
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine flour, arrowroot starch, powdered sugar, almond extract, and salt in your standing mixer. Mix for 3-5 minutes or until it creams together and resembles a thick frosting.
- Fold in the chopped cranberries and orange zest and mix with a spatula.
- Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges.
- After the cookies have cooled, you can start the frosting. Combine the frosting ingredients in the standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix for 3 minutes. Pipe the frosting onto the shortbread cookies and top with cranberries and candied orange peel.