Cranberry and orange flavors meld beautifully in this vibrant, and buttery shortbread. It is delicious, easy to make, and a great gifting idea for the holidays!
If your holidays are anything like mine then you probably have a lot of demands on your time. Good demands, but demands none the less. In my industry, it is Q4, which means everyone is doing their end of year spends, and there is a lot of work to do. Add to that family, traditions, school, kids being out of school, and all those other things, and well…frankly it can be exhausting trying to keep up.
I am exhausted just writing about it. But you know what? There are ways to cut down the chaos and enjoy the time you do have with family and friends a little more by doing a few things ahead of time. Like freezing holiday treats.
One thing I love making ahead are my cookie. The holidays are just known for cookies. In fact, one of my favorite traditions is attending a cookie exchange. So today I want to talk about how to easy prepare some amazing cranberry orange shortbread cookies ahead of time, then freeze in Hefty Slider Bags. When you are ready to use them, or have unexpected holiday guests, you just have to pull them out of the freezer, slice, and bake! So eazy peazy.
Basically, when you use this method you get all the taste of homemade with the convenience of store bought. Plus this recipe is super easy so you are going to be able to whip up a batch to stick in the freezer in just ten minutes. I love that because sometimes I only have a few tiny windows of time between things, and now I can use them to be productive and get some of my holiday baking started.
So for these cookies you just mix dried cranberries and sugar together with some orange zest. I usually stick them in my food processor for a few pulses to cut the cranberries down a bit. But you could skip that. Then in a big bowl mix together some four, sugar, butter, orange juice, and vanilla. Stir in the orange zest, sugar, cranberry mix, then roll into a log and freeze!
Then the day you are ready to bake them, pull them out maybe 10-15 minutes before you are ready to bake, like while you let the oven preheat, then slice, stick them on a sprayed pan and bake! So simple. But even cooler is you can use this same cookie dough as a gift. Hefty has these darling bag toppers that you can spruce up the freezer bag so it is cute enough to gift, and just add instructions! How easy is that? And who wouldn’t want one of these tasty cookies as a holiday treat?
Let’s get to the recipe already:
Cranberry Orange Shortbread
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup sugar Yes, more sugar, the first sugar is to mix with the cranberries, so I put them separate so it would not be confusing
- 1 cup softened butter or at least not rock hard
- 1 tbs orange juice (I just squeezed in juice from the orange I zested.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a food processor, or a bowl, combine orange zest, cranberries, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Pulse to break cranberries down in size a bit so they are easier to eat in the cookies.
- In a bowl stir together flour and 1/2 cup sugar
- Cut butter into the bowl, and then use a wooden spoon or your hands to combine the mixture together. It will be a sandy texture.
- Stir in orange juice, vanilla, and cranberry mixture, and combine well
- Lay out a piece of plastic wrap, and dump 1/3 the shortbread dough onto it, roll it into a log. It will still be crumbly, so use the plastic wrap to help you get it to hold together. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
- Put the rolls of shortbread dough into a Hefty Quart Freezer Slider Bag, and label
- When ready to bake, pull out of freezer, preheat oven to 350
- Slice about 1 centimeter or so thick
- Place on sprayed cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes
- Let rest on sheet 2 minutes, then move to cooling rack
- Let cool and enjoy
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.