Festive Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

I’ve made a version of this cookie for Christmas every year, and this year I think I got it to a point that I really liked!  The colors of the pistachios and cranberries are nothing short of merry and bright, and the added orange zest really makes the flavors of the cookie pop.  The dough is a simple shortbread base, which comes together with the magic of flour, butter, and sugar.  Topped with a little extra sugar, these cookies look like they have been dusted in sparkly snow, and the colors of green, red, and orange are so festive that there is no additional decorating required.

I posted a more simplified version of this cookie last year in my Shortbread Series, but I think this recipe is fully ready as a stand-alone cookie that may be a permanent member of my rotation.  I used the standard shortbread cookie base that I posted last year as well, so feel free to check that out (click here!) if you want to make other fun flavors using this recipe as the base.

Recipe for these cookies posted below, photo up top!  I got about 24 cookies out of this batch, and I baked the scraps for us to snack on (we saved the nice cookies for gifting!).  The scraps can also be gathered and re-rolled to make more cookies if desired!

Festive Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 175 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g flour
  • 60 g granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
  • ¾ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • Zest of one orange
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Dice the butter and put into a mixing bowl to soften a little.  Add the flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract into the bowl with the butter.  Add shelled and chopped pistachios, chopped dried cranberries, and the zest of one orange. 
  2. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips and form the mixture into a ball.  Mixture will be crumbly at first, do not be tempted to add any water to the dough – continue kneading lightly and it will come together!
  3. Form the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator until fully chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out until it is about ¼ inch thick.  Cut into desired shape, either by cutting into strips or squares with a knife or by using cookie cutters to create shapes.
  6. Lay the cookies onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper to prevent sticking.  Prick the surfaces of the cookies all over with a fork.  Refrigerate the cookies for 30 minutes to allow the shapes to fully set before baking.
  7. Sprinkle sugar over the shortbread (if desired) and bake for 8 minutes, or until firm to the touch.  Cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
  8. Allow to cool completely on a wire baking rack before packing and storing in a sealable plastic bag or air-tight container.  Cookies will stay fresh if sealed in an air-tight package for up to 2 weeks.

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