These cranberry white chocolate shortbread cookies are so easy and always a hit! You’ll love these slice and bake white chocolate cranberry cookies for your next cookie swap! And if you like this cranberry shortbread cookies recipe, you’ll want to try my Oatmeal Cranberry Pecan Cookies, my Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies, and my Peppermint White Chocolate Sugar Cookies!
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Cranberry Shortbread Cookies Recipe
These shortbread cookies are SO easy to make, and SO Christmasy! They're a classic shortbread cookie base, brightened up with orange extract and sweetened dried cranberries. But the best part (of course) is that once they're baked, they're dipped in luscious white chocolate for the most decadent holiday treat you could ask for!
Which type of cookie is shortbread?
Shortbread cookies are a classic cookie that's traditionally made with sugar, flour, and butter. The basic shortbread recipe originated in Scotland, where the first recorded recipe was in 1736. Since then, shortbread cookies have evolved somewhat to include additional ingredients like flavored extracts, salt, and mix-ins like dried fruit. Which brings us to this easy cranberry white chocolate shortbread cookies recipe!
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies - Slice and Bake Method
I love making slice and bake cookies -- they're so easy and the dough can be ready to go straight from the fridge! Perfect for make-ahead recipes and for experimenting with flavors. So how does the slice and bake method work?
First, we'll get our shortbread dough mixed up and bring it together in two dough balls. Then we roll each chunk of dough into a cylinder shape and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Next, the dough needs to chill at least two hours to let the fats re-solidify and firm up the cylinder shapes. Finally, we'll cut the chilled dough into slices and bake it, giving us the best cranberry white chocolate shortbread cookies!
How soon before Christmas can I make cookies?
Good news! These slice and bake Christmas cookies are very freezer-friendly! So you can make them up to 2 months in advance, let them cool and set fully, and then pop them in an airtight container to freeze until Christmas! Just let them thaw in the container at room temperature and then serve as normal!
You can also store these cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or in the fridge for up to a week. Either way, you're in control of your timeframe. You can be enjoying these slice and bake Christmas cookies today, tomorrow, or next month! Or you can do like I do, and sneak one out of the freezer every couple days or so.
Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies Ingredients
These simple shortbread cookies come together so easily with just a few ingredients:
- all-purpose flour - I always say this, but be sure to measure your flour correctly. I highly recommend measuring out 416 grams of flour using a kitchen scale, but you can also use the spoon-and-level method.
- powdered sugar - same as the flour, it's best to measure by weight, but you can also just make sure it's sifted before measuring in cups.
- salted butter - you'll need 3 sticks of salted butter, or you can use unsalted butter and add ¾ teaspoon of salt.
- orange extract - if you don't have orange extract, you can add almond extract, vanilla extract, or any other flavor you'd like!
- sweetened dried cranberries - I love the flavor of cranberries and white chocolate together!
- white chocolate - I always use Ghirardelli baking bars, but you can also use candy melts or melted white baking chips. Just be careful not to over-melt it in the microwave!
You'll need the basic cookie tools: a stand mixer or handheld mixer, as well as a baking sheet and a silicone liner or some parchment paper to line it with. But for this recipe you'll also need a 2-inch round cookie cutter and some plastic wrap to chill your cookie dough.
How do I keep my cut cookies from spreading?
A few tips to remember to prevent your cookies from spreading:
- Make sure your dough is properly chilled. In the recipe card below, I suggest that you chill your dough for at least two hours. To be on the safe side, though, overnight is preferable. Once you take the dough out of the fridge, move quickly to get it cut into slices and onto your baking sheet while handling the dough as little as possible. If you have to wait for the oven to finish preheating, then pop the baking sheet and cookie slices back into the fridge while you wait.
- Make sure your flour is measured correctly. If you don't have enough flour, the fat in the dough can move around in the oven and change the shape of the cookies. As I mention below, your best bet would be to use a kitchen scale to measure out your flour by weight.
- Make sure your oven temperature is correct. We're baking these slice and bake Christmas cookies at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than the typical 350, because the heat of the oven will firm up the outside of the cookie before the inside has a chance to move around, thereby preventing spreading. But if your oven runs a little cold, as many do (mine included), you run a greater risk of the cookies losing their shape. I like to use an oven thermometer! It hangs from your oven rack and can give you a consistent reading of the actual temperature inside your oven, so that you can adjust the temperature dial as needed.
- Reach for parchment paper instead of a silicone baking liner. I love my Silpat baking liner, but the nonstick surface can contribute to slightly more spread and darker browning than parchment paper. So if spreading is a concern, use parchment paper to be safe.
Tips and F.A.Q.
While the two cookies have similar flavors, shortbread has a simpler recipe, made without eggs or any leaveners. Shortbread is also denser, with a more buttery, crumbly texture. Sugar cookies, on the other hand, are lighter, with a softer, chewy texture.
Butter cookies are a bit sweeter than shortbread cookies, and their higher sugar content makes them great for cutout recipes. Like sugar cookies, butter cookies often have egg added, which creates a softer texture.
Yes you can! I freeze these white chocolate cranberry cookies every year in preparation for the holidays. You can freeze the rolled up dough for up to 2 months, well wrapped. Or you can freeze completed cookies in an airtight container or heavy duty freezer bag for up to three months.
One of these cookies has 183 calories. You can see the recipe card below for full nutrition information.
If you like this recipe, you'll love my Lemon Lavender Cookies and my Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies! Or check out my Lemon Blueberry Cookies for an easy cake mix recipe bursting with fresh berries!
And if you love butterscotch, check out my Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies! Or, for LOTS of cookie ideas, check out my roundups of the Best Cookies for a Cookie Exchange and the Best Gluten Free Dairy Free Cookies Recipes!
If you try this recipe, I would love it if you could leave a rating and comment below! It’s so wonderful hearing your feedback! And don’t forget to share your creations with me by tagging @chenee_today on Instagram!
More Cookie Recipes You'll Love
- Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies with Cinnamon Sugar
- Almond Flour Peanut Butter Cookies
- Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brown Butter and Sea Salt
- No Spread Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies
Equipment you may need
- 1½ cup (341 g) salted butter - room temperature (3 sticks)
- 1 ½ cup (180 g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange extract - (or vanilla, or almond extract)
- 1 cup (121 g) sweetened dried cranberries - chopped
- 3 cups (384 g) all-purpose flour - plus more for rolling
- 8 oz (227 g) white chocolate - chopped (about 1½ cup)
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and powdered sugar until smooth.1½ cup salted butter, 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- Stir in orange extract until well combined.1 teaspoon orange extract
- In a separate bowl, combine flour and dried cranberries and mix well.1 cup sweetened dried cranberries, 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix with a hand mixer or paddle attachment of a stand mixer until dough begins to come together.
- Divide dough in half. Dust surface with flour and, with floured hands, roll dough into two cylinders, about 1 ½ -2 inch in diameter.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Dough can be made and chilled up to 3 days in advance.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
- Unwrap chilled dough logs. Using a serrated knife, cut log into ½-inch slices.
- Place cookie slices on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to lightly brown around the edges.
- Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Melt chopped white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave in 15 second increments.8 oz white chocolate
- Dip half of each cookie into melted white chocolate and place on parchment paper to set.
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Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Chenée Lewis