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Desserts Recipes

Cranberry shortbread cookies recipe

Christmas cookies are like little bits of magic. The shapes, the way they smell, the detail put into so many of them – each one is like its own little special memory. Whether it’s candy cane twists, gingerbreads, snowballs, peanut butter blossoms, thumbprints, Italian knots, simple sugar cookies or something more elaborate covered in royal icing and sprinkles, they all seem to hold a place in our hearts.

 

We would make them almost every year when I was a kid. It’s something we would look forward to each year and now, it’s something my kids look forward to as well.

 

 

Adding new cookies to the mix

While we make the traditional, simple sugar cookies each year, every now and then I love to create new ones too that will become part of the mix. One year it was Italian Knot Cookies, another year Chocolate Chunk and this year I decided to go fruity again with Cranberry Shortbread Cookies recipe.

 

The older I get the more I appreciate the cranberry for all that it can do. The tarty flavor is easily tamed by adding in a little sweetness and introducing it to a cookie creates the perfect balance of flavor.

 

 

Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

This simple Cranberry Shortbread Cookies recipe gives you buttery and delicious cookies with just the right bit of tangy sweetness from the cranberries. They work well with coffee, tea and, of course, more cookies.

 

I love that they firm up but still stay soft enough so you don’t have to bite into them hard. You can nibble until your heart is content and if you’re a dunker you can do that too. The shortbread is just full of beautiful, cookie flavor perfection.

 

To glaze or not to glaze

These are plenty good all on their own straight out of the oven without the glaze. My kids like them best that way so if you don’t feel the need to feed your sweet tooth, then you don’t need to make the glaze. But, my grandmother loved them with the glaze and cranberries…And grandma always knows best. I promise, she will tell you if you messed anything up. 🙂

 

I also think they look a bit prettier and more Christmasy with the sugar cranberries on top. They’re kind of like the star on top of the tree.
Thank you so much for visiting today, friends! I hope you’ll come back and visit again. And if you make the cookies, please let me know how you like them! You can find the full recipe for the Cranberry Shortbread Cookies recipe below and for more recipes, click here.

Cranberry Shortbread Cookies Recipe

These Cranberry Shortbread Cookies are delicious with the buttery cookie perfectly complimented with the tang of the cranberries. 
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry shortbread, cranberry shortbread cookies, shortbread cookies recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Author: Rachel Quenzer

Ingredients

Cookie ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1.5 sticks of salted butter, melted but not hot
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg

Glaze ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cranberry topping

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine your sugar and butter using a hand mixer. Mix until it is fluffy.
  • Add in your egg, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend well. 
  • Add in your baking powder and mix again. 
  • Add in your flour slowly, mixing in about 1/2 cup at a time. 
  • Once all your flour is in, fold in your dried cranberries. 
  • Using a melon baller for size consistency, place individual dollops of cookie dough on the cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Using the bottom of a glass, flatten out your cookie balls a bit. 
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. No longer or you will have burnt cookies. These will not brown like chocolate chips. 
  • Once done, remove from the oven and cool.
  • While your cookies are cooling, combine your additional dried cranberries and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. 
  • In another small bowl, combine your milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix everything together well until combined and it makes a smooth glaze.
  • Spoon a bit of the sugar topping onto the cookies and then top with the sugared cranberries. Let harden and serve. 

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25 Comments

  1. Lori Geurin

    You had me at shortbread! These cookies look (almost) took gorgeous to eat…but I think I could manage. I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  2. Amber Myers


    Oh yum, these look so good! I just love cranberries, so I will have to make these.

  3. Brianne Tursi Manz


    I really like these cookies! Cranberries are one of my favorites this time of year, and I’d love to try these.

  4. Tara Pittman

    I love the sound of these. I would definitely have to glaze the cookies

  5. Stacie


    Yummo! I’ve never seen shortbread cookies quite like that before. Usually, when I see shortbread cookies, they’re frosted heavily. This light drizzle looks so good.

  6. Liz Mays

    Oh these are too pretty and I know I’d love those delicious flavors. What a great idea for the holidays!

  7. Jennifer Freeman Talley

    These cookies look amazing! I love cranberries and the glaze looks delicious. Perfect for a holiday tea. I am saving this recipe.

  8. Sarah

    I really like the addition of maple syrup in this recipe in place of some of the sugar. They look fantastic, and the combination of dried cranberries with shortbread sound so yummy! Can’t wait to make these!

  9. This sounds and looks so good cant wait to try this for the holiday.

  10. Amy Desrosiers

    These cranberry cookies look so good! I love how pretty and dainty they are!

  11. Kathy

    These look amazing. I love shortbread cookies, but I’ve never had cranberry ones before. I can’t wait to try them.

  12. katrina Kroeplin

    oh yes these look amazing. i’m saving this to make later. my family will love these.

  13. Heather

    I’m such a huge fan of shortbread cookies! I have to make these. They look delicious!

  14. Catalina


    I am drooling over these cookies! I will definitely make them for my Christmas cookie plate!

  15. Lisa Joy Thompson

    These look absolutely amazing! I’m planning to make Christmas cookies this weekend and I think I’m going to branch out and try making some that I’ve never tried before just to mix things up a little!

  16. Toni


    These are really amazing!! I can’t wait to add this to our dessert table!

  17. Stephanie Pass

    These are so gorgeous! They just look like the perfect treat for a cookie exchange or to leave for Santa.

  18. Claudia Krusch


    They look soo good! We love cranberries! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  19. Maria Yakimchuk

    That looks so delicious. Cranberries are so good in desserts. I love the tartness they bring.

  20. Crystal // Dreams, etc.

    These look delish! Definitely think I need to add these to my holiday baking list.

  21. Marysa

    This sounds like such a lovely combination of flavors – and the cranberries are so pretty! I will have to try your recipe.

  22. Sarah

    What a great cookie recipe. I’ll have to try these for my family gathering this Christmas.

  23. Myrah Duque


    So delish! These shortbread cookies are definitely unique. I’ve seen the shortbread cookies, with frosting.

  24. Kim

    This combines two of my favorite things – shortbread and cranberries. I will have to add this recipe to our cookie baking day this year.

  25. Brittnee

    These cookies are so pretty! And, they sound so yummy!


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