White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies have fresh chopped cranberries for a beautiful red speckled appearance with a buttery crisp texture and are dipped in white chocolate.
Shortbread cookies are one of my favorite cookies to bake around the holidays, if they are one of your favorites, you will definitely want to check out my other shortbread recipes while you’re at it.
These White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread cookies are perfect for using up fresh cranberries. They have a buttery sweet flavor with a tart cranberry edge that goes together perfectly with white chocolate. The crisp texture of shortbread holds up well to a dunk in chocolate and looks so pretty.
Shortbread cookie dough is also perfect to make ahead and freeze! Then when you’re ready, just thaw, slice, and bake.
Are you ready to bake some cookies?
First you’ll need some finely chopped cranberries. The easiest way to chop cranberries is to whiz them in the food processor. This recipe only calls for ½ a cup of chopped cranberries, but if you really love tart cranberry flavor you can add up to one cup.
Next you’ll beat a cup of unsalted butter and sifted confectioners sugar until it’s nice and fluffy. Unsalted butter is essential. No substitutions for that on this recipe. Confectioners sugar is perfect for shortbread cookies because it gives the cookies a fine crumb for a melt in your mouth cookie.
Vanilla extract and almond extract are added after the sugar. I’ve added links to my favorite brand of extracts. If you don’t have almond extract, it can be omitted, but it adds a lot of flavor to these cookies.
To finish off the dough, you’ll mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Once added, you’ll only need to mix the dough until they are completely incorporated. Fold in the chopped cranberries and you’re ready to shape the dough.
Cut 2 pieces of waxed paper and divide the dough evenly between the two. Shape the dough into a log that’s about 7 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter and wrap in waxed paper. If you wanted to freeze your dough for later, now is the time to do it. Simply place the wrapped logs in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Chill for at least 2 hours. Because of the high butter content in shortbread cookies, this dough needs to chill so the cookies will hold their shape, thickness, and not overspread when baking.
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Parchment paper is essential for shortbread cookies because it helps to soak up any extra butter so your cookies don’t get greasy bottoms.
Slice the cookies about ⅓ inch thick and place them at least an inch apart on the baking sheet as they will spread some. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just a hint of golden brown around the edges shows. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt a bag of white chocolate chips in the microwave at 30-40% power until completely melted. Check your chocolate often, because white chocolate burns more easily than regular chocolate. Dip each cookie into the white chocolate and then place back onto the parchment lined baking sheets until set!
Got more cranberries to bake with? Try these next.
1. Cream together the butter and confectioners sugar. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
2. Add the flour and salt and mix on low until the ingredients are just combined. Fold in the chopped cranberries.
3. Cut two pieces of waxed paper and divide the dough evenly in half. Shape each portion into a log that is approximately 7" long and 2.5" in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in waxed paper. Place the dough in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, but up to 2 days. *
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slice the dough into 1/3" slices and place at least an inch apart on the cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies are firm and have a slight golden brown hue at the edges.
5. Let the cookies set on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes after removing from the oven, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Reserve the parchment paper for later use.
6. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave at 30-40% power until completely melted and smooth. Dip each cookie generously in chocolate and place back on parchment paper to dry.
* At this point the dough can also be frozen. Place the wrapped cookie dough in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, place the frozen cookie dough in the fridge 24 hours in advance and then proceed with step 4.
These cookies will have the strongest cranberry flavor the day they are baked. The longer they sit, the more that flavor mellows.
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