These slice and bake cookies are flavored with orange zest, vanilla, cranberries and pecans. Very quick and easy, and you can even freeze the dough. They make the ideal holiday cookie!
Well, I brought you a healthy(ish) recipe on Monday, so today it is back to cookies. I can’t help myself, the holidays just make me want to bake. As I mentioned last week, there are three cookies I NEED to make every Christmas. I already shared the Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies that make that list (the third one will be coming up later this month!). Today I am bringing to you these Cranberry Orange and Pecan Shortbread Cookies. Now, normally I am all about chocolate when it comes to dessert. And I am very firmly in the anti-nut camp when it comes to cookies. Don’t you dare put walnuts in my cookies! But I have to say, I really like the pecans in this cookie. Not only do they offer a good texture, but the flavor of pecans is so great, and it works really well in this cookie. And I don’t have to tell you how great cranberries are, right?
These cookies are pretty un-fussy. The most time consuming part is the chilling time, but other than that you just mix everything together, shape them into logs, then slice and bake. You can freeze the dough too, which means you can make these ahead!
I started making these a few years ago, and they quickly became a favorite with my family and friends – my BFF requests them every year (P.S. Sarah, coming soon, I promise). I adapted the recipe just slightly from a Martha Stewart recipe. One day I decided to add orange zest, and seriously WOW. The orange zest makes this cookie, in my opinion. I love the flavor of orange and cranberry together, and combined with the buttery, vanilla cookie it is just magic, I tell you.
A few tips: do be sure to chill these for at least two hours. If the dough gets warm it is much harder to cut them and they won’t hold their shape. Also, be sure to slice them all the same thickness. If you slice some thinner than others, the thinner ones will get brown and crunchy (which, maybe you are into that, but I don’t find it ideal). I prefer to slice them a little on the thicker side because they stay a bit softer. As you can see in this photo, the cookies in the back were a little thinner, so they browned more than the cookies in front.
How are you doing with holiday preparations? Did you finish your Christmas shopping? To be honest, I am THE WORST at finishing things on time. I rarely get packages out on time, and I find myself shopping on December 23rd like rest of the crazies. Every year I tell myself I’m going to get things done early, and every year I totally don’t. So, I’m reminding myself that is is December 9th and Christmas is in fifteen days. TWO WEEKS, you guys. Luckily I just baked another batch of these cookies, so at least I have something ready to be sent out (now, actually going to the post office? That is a different story).
Cranberry Orange and Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (2 sticks)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- zest of one orange
- Cream butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add milk, vanilla and orange zest, mix to combine.
- Gradually add flour, salt, cranberries and pecans, beat until combined.
- Divide dough into two equal pieces. Shape each into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Tightly wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Slice log into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on a lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, until edges are golden.
If the dough gets too soft it will be difficult to slice and will not hold its shape.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
If you like this recipe, I would love it if you would pin it! And if you are looking for more holiday recipes, follow me on Pinterest!