“12 Days of Baking” Day 2: Cranberry Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies



CHRISTMASTIME… (I won’t stop mentioning this).

Our tree is already up, with lights on and sparkling, and this weekend witnessed the making of the first official batch of Christmas baking, with Christmas songs blasting in the background.

(My favorite version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!”)

Shortbread cookies were the first on the list. I know what you’re probably thinking, that there’s nothing exciting about shortbread cookies. But you’re wrong. The simple base can be paired up with whatever flavors you want to truly create the flavors of Christmas.


In this case, the obvious answer was Shortbread cookie base+Cranberries+Orange+Pistachios with a hint of almond extract. The perfect combination of sweet, tart, and nutty.

They’re also perfect for the busy holidays because you can make the dough, set it in the fridge, and then bake when you have more time. The cookies here were sitting in the fridge for two days, and then on the counter for another two days before I got around to photographing them.


12 Days of Baking ’15:
Day 1: Classic Madeleine 

Cranberry Orange Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Yields: 2 dozen
(depending on how thick you slice the pieces)


  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup butter, cubed (and cold)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
  • 1/4 cup pistachio (chopped)
  • additional sugar to coat cookies before baking if desired


  1. Combine cranberries, ¼ cup of sugar and pistachios in a food processor and process just until the pieces are broken down into smaller pieces. Remove from food processor and Set aside.
  2. Combine flour and remaining sugar in the food processor give them a small pulse to get everything combined.
  3. Add in butter and process the mixture (in pulses). You want very fine crumbs.
  4. Stir in extract, cranberries mixture, and orange zest.
  5. Use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Work the dough JUST until it comes together – you don’t want to over-work it.
  6. Shape dough into a log about two inches in a diameter and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours or up to 72 hours.
  7. When ready to use, place about a half a cup of sugar in a bowl and coat the log with sugar.
  8. Cut slices of cookie dough about ¼ inch (one index finger) thick.
  9. Place cookies on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or just until cookies are set. Do not over bake. I pulled mine out at 10 minutes.
  10. Let cookies cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
  11. Store in airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months

Bon Appetit 🙂

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