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The specks of red and white in these Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies bring joy and merriment to every holiday celebration. So buttery, tart, and sweet, these Christmas cookies are perfect for parties, cookie exchanges, and Santa!
A Christmas cookie that’s merry and bright
While these Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are delicious year-round, I think they’re one of the best Christmas cookies. Classic buttery shortbread cookies are mixed with dried cranberries and white chocolate to not only speckle them with traditional Christmas colors but flavors as well!
If you didn’t know already, dried cranberries and white chocolate happen to be a perfect pairing. Cranberries can sometimes be overly tart on their own, but the sweet and buttery white chocolate helps to tone this down and add balance to every bite.
Whip up a batch of these cranberry and white chocolate cookies for cookie exchanges, gifting, or to put out for Santa! They, along with my Eggnog Shortbread, would be a great fit for any holiday celebration.
Christmas shortbread cookie ingredients
This easy Christmas cookie recipe has 6 simple ingredients and makes a whole bunch of cookies. What could be better?
Wanna know the secret to deliciously soft shortbread? Butter!
Salted butter is key in this easy shortbread recipe because of the lack of moisture in the dough. Unlike lemon cupcakes or chocolate chunk candy cane cookies, making shortbread dough with salted butter means you don’t have to add the salt on its own. If you use unsalted butter and add salt, your cookies would likely be overly salty.
Making white chocolate cranberry shortbread cookies with powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar ensures they turn out light, soft, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. If you were to use granulated sugar, the granules wouldn’t fully dissolve in the dough because there’s so little moisture.
Vanilla extract is needed to bring a warm flavor and balance to the shortbread. If you’re a big fan of vanilla and want to give these cookies an impeccable flavor, swap the extract for vanilla bean paste instead.
All purpose flour
A few cups of all purpose flour will bring the cookie dough together and leave you with light and airy cookies.
This tart and sweet raisin-like garnish is so perfect in shortbread! Don’t swap them for fresh cranberries or else there will be way too much liquid in the batter and cookies.
White chocolate and shortbread are so good together. Both are buttery, sweet, and rich.
Now, the true question is, “Should I make these cookies with a white chocolate bar or white chocolate chips?” Please, for the sake of delicious flavors, use a high quality white chocolate bar.
The best white chocolate is made with a short list of ingredients, the most important being cocoa butter. According to Cook’s Illustrated, most big brand white chocolate chips “contain no cocoa butter and thus can’t be labeled ‘chocolate’”. For this recipe, chopping up a white chocolate bar is best.
How to make cranberry white chocolate shortbread cookies
These slice and bake shortbread cookies are really easy to put together, can be made ahead of time, and can even be left in the freezer for months. Any home baker can master this recipe in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Cream the powdered sugar, vanilla, and butter together.
Step 2: Add in the flour, cranberries, and white chocolate. Slowly beat it all together until it looks crumbly.
Step 3: Turn the dough out onto the counter and form it into two logs.
Wrap each log up in plastic and leave them to chill in the fridge.
Step 4: Slice up the cookies into rounds, then bake!
Step 5: You’ll know the cookies are ready when they’re just slightly brown around the bottom edges.
Frequently asked questions
Because it’s too dry! If you’re having a hard time forming the dough into a ball, add a little more butter or a few drops of water to add more moisture.
Chilling the cookie dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours will prevent the cookies from spreading too much in the oven.
Shortbread cookies can be stored in an airtight container or sealed tin at room temperature for about a week.
Absolutely! Both the baked and unbaked white chocolate and cranberry shortbread cookies can be frozen:
To freeze unbaked: Wrap the 2 dough logs in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Once it’s chilled and firm, transfer the dough to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To freeze baked cookies: Wait for the cookies to cool completely. Transfer them to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
The shortbread cookie dough can be made up to 3 days before baking. Just wrap the dough logs in plastic and keep them in the fridge until it’s time to slice and bake.
Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until it just becomes light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add flour, cranberry, and white chocolate. On low speed, beat until the dough just starts to come together, about 3 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together to form a log. Divide the dough in half and form each piece of dough into a 7-inch log. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Slice each log into ¼ to ¾-inch slices and evenly space on the baking sheets. You should have about 40 cookies.
- Bake until the bottom edges of the cookies just start to brown, 14-16 minutes.
- Allow cookies to cool and serve!
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