A cooling rack of cranberry orange shortbread bars.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Holiday desserts are often rich, decadent, and nearly as filling as your main holiday meal! But sometimes, you just want a lovely, tender, buttery shortbread to enjoy alongside your tea. That’s why I love my Cranberry Orange Shortbread — and it’s wonderful all year long!

These homemade cranberry orange shortbread cookies offer a light crispness thanks to the fruity orange and lemon zest and the delightfully chewy dried cranberries. 

On top of the delicious flavor and wonderful shortbread texture, they’re super quick to make! You don’t have to wait for the dough to chill, and you don’t even have to waste time with cookie cutters. All you have to do is pack them in a square pan and cut them in squares when they’re done baking! Easy-peasy-cranberry-and-orange-shortbread-squeezy!

What Is Cranberry Orange Shortbread?

Shortbread cookies are made with a high ratio of flour to butter, so not only do they taste wonderfully buttery, but they are very crumbly and tender. There’s no leavening in a shortbread, which means no baking soda or powder. They’re a popular Christmas and Hogmanay (Scottish New Year’s Eve) treat in Scotland, where the first shortbread recipe was printed in 1736. 

This shortbread cookie rounds out the butter’s incredible richness by adding the brightness of the orange and lemon zest, and the texture is improved by adding a little variety in the form of chewy dried cranberries. 

What You Need To Make Cranberry Orange Shortbread

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) square pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Stand mixer or handheld mixer
  • Wooden skewer or fork

How Do You Make Cranberry Orange Shortbread?

Looking for an easy (but delicious!) holiday cookie? Check out how to make these cranberry orange shortbread cookies (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. Line a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) square pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat the butter, sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest together for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually mix the flour into the butter mixture and stop when it is all just combined. Then, fold in the dried cranberries.
  4. Press the dough evenly into your prepared pan and poke holes all over using a wooden skewer or a fork. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is lightly golden.
  5. While still warm, cut the shortbread into 16 squares. Allow them to cool on a wire rack completely. 

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Cranberry Orange Shortbread

  • Before making your dough, make sure your butter is at room temperature, so it creams well with the sugar. 
  • Instead of using a square pan, you can use a round pan and cut the shortbread into wedges.
  • The lemon zest helps bring out the flavor of the orange zest, but if you do not have lemons, the zest from two oranges works as well.
  • To make cutting easier (less crumbly), bake the shortbread for 20 minutes, remove the cookies from the oven, and score the 16 squares, cutting only halfway through the dough. Then return to the oven and finishing baking.
  • To make cutting the cookies even easier, you use a bench scraper if you have one. 
  • Be sure to cut the cookies while they are still warm, or else they might crumble up on you!

How Do I Store Cranberry Orange Shortbread?

Any leftover cranberry orange shortbread cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They do freeze wonderfully, though, and can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. 

Make More Cookie Recipes!

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 40 mins

Tender, buttery shortbread with cranberries and orange are a match made in heaven, and my Cranberry Orange Shortbread recipe proves it!

Author: Gemma Stafford

Servings: 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup (2oz/57g) confectioner’s sugar sifted
  • Zest of one orange
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (2½oz/71g) dried cranberries

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) square pan with parchment.

  • Beat butter, sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest together with a stand or handheld mixer for about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

  • Gradually mix in flour and stop when just combined. Lastly, fold in dried cranberries.

  • Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan, poke holes all over with a wooden skewer and bake for 30-40 minutes, until lightly golden on top.

  • Cut into 16 squares while still warm. Let cool on a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

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