I have always loved shortbread. It’s so crisp and buttery and crumbly and simple. I love it in its basic form, truly, but sometimes I’m in the mood for something a little more festive and that’s when these Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies come into play. They still have that lovely crisp-crumbly texture, but they’re studded with tart cranberries, bright orange zest, and sweet and nutty pistachios. In other words, they’re delicious, and a nice break from the barrage of overly-sweet holiday cookies that generally come your way.
It’s not a long ingredient list. It’s not a hard cookie to make. Would you believe me if I told you that you only needed seven things? It’s true.
You need butter and sugar and flour and salt (the basics), and then dried cranberries, and pistachios, and orange zest (the add-ins). There’s not really anything secret going on here.
You might be thinking, “Where are the eggs? Where is the baking powder?” But those aren’t things that you’ll generally find in shortbread. Instead you’re just creaming together the butter and sugar and then mixing in flour and you’ve got your dough. You just want to make sure not to overwork that dough so you get the ideal shortbread texture.
These are a slice and bake cookie, so you’ll knead the dough on the counter a bit before rolling it up into a log and chilling it. Once the dough is firm, you’re ready to slice it into quarter-inch rounds and bake them.
Baking takes about fifteen minutes, but keep an eye on things. You want these to keep their beautiful delicate texture, so don’t take them past having lightly golden edges.
One thing I love about a slice and bake cookie is that you don’t have to use them all at once. Slice up a dozen and bake them, but then wrap up the rest of the log and tuck it into the freezer until that cookie mood strikes again. Then you’ve got cookies whenever you need them!
Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Yield 36 cookies
15m prep time
15m cook time
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Reduce mixer speed to low, then mix in flour, salt, and orange zest until just combined.
- Stir in cranberries and pistachios.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper or cling wrap on counter. Place dough on counter and knead it a bit to come together. Arrange dough on parchment paper/cling wrap in a log shape.
- Roll up parchment paper/cling wrap and twist the ends, taking care to form the log tightly. Chill in fridge until firm, at least 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove dough from fridge and unwrap. Slice into rounds 1/4-inch thick and place on prepared baking sheet 2-inches apart.
- Bake until cookies are set and edges are turning golden, 14-16 minutes. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Just So Tasty.