These cranberry orange shortbread cookies are dipped in white chocolate and are melt-in-your-mouth amazing! Made with fresh cranberries and oranges, these cookies are packed with flavor and are a lovely addition to your Christmas baking.
There’s something about using fresh ingredients in my holiday baked goods that make me so happy. That pop of color really helps lift my spirits while the outside looks mostly brown (if it’s not yet snowed).
Plus, fresh cranberries can only be found in local grocery stores during this time of year, and the scent of oranges is intoxicating!
These cookies are simple to make, but they do require about an hour of chill time. Once chilled, you simply cut them up and bake them. They don’t spread thanks to the chill time and the fact that they don’t have any leavening agent such as baking soda.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Fresh Ingredients – The burst of color and flavor is all thanks to the fresh cranberries and orange. I love being able to add fresh ingredients to my cookies!
- White Chocolate – The drizzle over these cookies help balance the tang with the sweet white chocolate. Plus, they make them look fancy without much work!
- Perfect for the Holidays – I love baking cookies in December, but a lot of them are chocolate or other heavier flavors. These cookies help lighten and brighten up our holiday baking.
- butter – I used salted butter. Unsalted butter also works. Just add a pinch of salt to the dough. Cube the butter before adding to the dough.
- powdered sugar – This is what makes these cookies melt in your mouth and makes them so sweet.
- granulated sugar – More additional sweetness.
- orange zest – Use a citrus zester or cheese grater to grate the rind of an orange for the zest.
- orange juice – Use the same orange you used for the zest to squeeze some juice from it to add to the dough. The juice and zest give these cookies their incredible orange flavor.
- cranberries – I use fresh cranberries. Make sure to gently work the dough so you don’t burst the cranberries and turn the dough red! You can also use dried cranberries.
- flour – All-purpose flour is best for these cookies.
- white chocolate chips – I melted the white chocolate chips in the microwave in 20 second increments along with the milk and vanilla extract. Once melted, you can drizzle the cookies or dip them in the melted white chocolate. You could also skip melted the white chocolate and simply add the chips to the dough to save time and still give that deliciously creamy flavor.
- milk – Add to the white chocolate chips to help liquify and soften them.
- vanilla extract – Gives the white chocolate a bit of extra flavor. Not necessary, but highly recommend it!
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Zest the orange with a citrus zester or a cheese grater.
Step 2: Chop the cranberries in halves.
Step 3: Combine the cranberries, granulated sugar, and orange zest in a bowl. Mix them together with your hands to ensure everything is coated in sugar.
Step 4: Add the powdered sugar, cubed butter, orange juice, and flour into the bowl. Gradually add the flour. Use a hand mixer or food processor to combine all the ingredients together. I like to use my hands to then form the dough into a ball.
Step 5: Roll the dough ball into a cylinder shape about 10-12 inches long. Wrap it with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the fridge for one hour.
Step 6: Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the cookies 1/3-1/2-inch thick. You’ll get about 15-17 cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack before dipping them in white chocolate.
Step 7: Once the cookies are cool, combine the white chocolate chips, milk, and vanilla extract. Microwave for 20 seconds, whisk, and if needed, microwave again in 10 second increments until they are melted.
Step 8: Whisk together until the white chocolate is creamy. Dip the cookies or drizzle the white chocolate on the cookies. Allow the white chocolate to set on parchment paper. Once the white chocolate has set, enjoy the cookies and store the rest in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- plastic wrap
- parchment paper
- cutting board
- baking sheet
- mixing bowl
- citrus zester or cheese grater
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze these cookies for up to 3 months.
If you want to make the dough ahead of time, wrap it in plastic wrap, cover in aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 2 months. To bake, slice the cookies from the frozen cylinder of dough, bake as instructed but allow an extra minute or two of bake time.
- You can put all the ingredients in a food processor or use a hand mixer to help form the dough. Then, gently add the cranberries after processing. I prefer using my hands.
- When combining the dough, you may start to stress that the dough couldn’t possibly stick together, but I promise, it will. Just keep working on forming a ball with the dough. The butter, along with the warmth of your hands, will meld the ingredients together.
- If you don’t have fresh cranberries, you can use dried cranberries instead.
- Baking these shortbread cookies at a lower temperature (325 degrees Fahrenheit) is what makes these so melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Make sure the butter you’re using is room temperature. Forming the dough into a ball with your hands will help keep the ingredients together as well. Once the dough is together, roll it into a cylinder shape, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge. These steps will help keep the dough together.
Shortbread cookies are made with a higher proportion of butter to flour than other cookies, which gives them a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Yes, you can use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or even almond bark in place of white chocolate. Or, skip it all together! They will still be great.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest zest from one medium orange
- 1 cup fresh cranberries chopped or halved
- 1 cup salted butter room temperature, cubed
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange juice
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the white chocolate drizzle
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 4 teaspoons milk whole milk or heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Use a citrus zester or cheese grater to zest one medium orange. Next, chop the fresh cranberries in halves or quarters. Add the orange zest and cranberries to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the granulated sugar to the mixing bowl and use your hands to coat the cranberries with the orange zest and sugar.
- Next, add the cubed butter, powdered sugar, orange juice, and flour to the bowl. Use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients. Then, use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
- Once the dough is together, roll the ball into a cylinder about 10 inches long. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325℉. Once the dough is chilled, slice the cookies about 1/3-1/2-inch thick. Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about 8 at a time, spacing them out by an inch. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown. Allow them to cool on a wire rack.
Make the white chocolate drizzle
- Once the cookies are cooled, add the white chocolate chips, milk, and vanilla extract to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 20 seconds and whisk the ingredients. If the white chocolate is not melted, continue to heat in 10 second increments until the white chocolate mixture is smooth. 10-second
- Dip the cookies in the white chocolate (or drizzle the white chocolate over the cookies). Let the cookies set on parchment paper. They are ready to eat once the white chocolate is set.