White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

I have to say this might be my favorite cookie that I have made so far this holiday season. Buttery shortbread cookies speckled with white chocolate and fresh cranberries. I found this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and knew I had to give it a try!

Since I had so many cranberries lying around I decided to use them instead of the maraschino cherries that the original recipe called for. The result was fabulous and so festive! Since this is a shortbread recipe, don’t be surprised if the dough is crumbly and somewhat dry. A shortbread is just flour, sugar and butter and sometimes it can be a finicky dough. You really have to “get your hands dirty” and use them to form the balls. Everything will come together once you knead them into a ball. Resist the urge to add liquid and keep kneading..trust me the result is worth it! 😀

White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen


1/2 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 teaspoons shortening
Red sanding sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together flour and sugar. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
Stir in chopped cranberries and 4 ounces of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in almond extract and food coloring. The mixture will be crumbly. Knead mixture until it begins to stick together. Using a tablespoon, mold dough into a 1 ½ inch ball. With your hand, flatten balls into a 1-1/2-inch round and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
n a small saucepan over low heat, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Roll dipped edge or half in sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

Recipe Note: store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies 

24 Responses to “White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies”

  1. #
    Tina@flourtrader — December 14, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    These are so stunning-I love the festive look, great for the cookie plate. Also, the fresh cranberries mixed into the shortbread is really something that I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing the recipe for these delicious gems! Yum!

  2. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — December 14, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    Show stoppers! I like the cranberry switch, more seasonal and less sweet. The cookies look sweet enough either way.

  3. #
    Erin — December 14, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    Oh those are so pretty! I actually got white chocolate cherry cookies in a cookie exchange adn they were so good. I’d love to try the cranberry.

  4. #
    Chica Andaluza — December 14, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    What fun looking shortbread – and I adore white chocolate. Had never heard of the sanding sugar, looks amazing.

  5. #
    Caroline — December 14, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    Wow, these look incredible, Christina! I can tell why they’re your favorite cookie so far. Beautiful. :)

  6. #
    Amy — December 14, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    The color of these is so festive…and I love the addition of cranberries! I may have to add these to my holiday cookie list!

  7. #
    juniakk — December 14, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    yay for festive cookies! these look wonderful sweet pea!

  8. #
    ChgoJohn — December 14, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    I read the post’s title and thought that you were packing a whole lot fo flavor into a shortbread cookie. Then I saw them. WOW! They just about scream “CHRISTMAS!”

  9. #
    Karen — December 14, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    What a great cookie! They are probably the most holiday looking cookie that I have seen.

  10. #
    Jennifer Eloff — December 14, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    Gorgeous! Very festive looking.

  11. #
    The Food Hunter — December 14, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    Oh My all the cookies on your page..I don’t know where to start.

  12. #
    Shelbi — December 14, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Do you think these could be made with cherries? My kids don’t like cranberries :( But they look so pretty and festive!

    • Christina replied: — December 15th, 2011 @ 8:14 am

      The original recipe actually calls for maraschino cherries! Use the same amount of cherries, just make sure they are well drained and finely chopped. :)

  13. #
    Just A Smidgen — December 14, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

    These have to be the prettiest cookie for Christmas ever! I’m so glad you made them.. the three different layers look so yummy, I can just imagine biting into one!

  14. #
    Loveforfood — December 15, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    I can’t wait to try this, so perfect

  15. #
    kat — December 15, 2011 @ 1:38 am

    that’s so cute and festive!

  16. #
    Amanda — December 18, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    So pretty! And oh I bet they’d taste good as the cherry ones too.

  17. #
    Amanda — December 19, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    Hi Christina! These are such beautiful cookies, and I enjoyed giving them a whirl over the weekend. The one comment I had for you, though, was about the number of cookies the recipe makes. The recipe indicates that you should get 60 cookies, but I just barely managed 3 dozen. I made 1 Tbsp. mounds, but wondered if perhaps I did something wrong.

    Anyway, regardless they were delicious! Thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas!

    Merry Christmas!
    Amanda in Atlanta

    • Christina replied: — December 22nd, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

      The original recipe calls for the balls to be rolled into 3/4-inch balls, not the 1 1/2 inch balls that I suggested to make them. I will have to change the yield amount. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I am so glad that you enjoyed the cookies! Thanks so much for letting letting me know how they turned out! :)

  18. #
    momsparkAmy — December 22, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    Wow, amazing cookies!

  19. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — December 22, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    Those look so cute – just like little santa hats!

  20. #
    Willa@ArmstrongFamilyFare — December 22, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

    These do look really good! Thanks for sharing!


  21. #
    Jersey Girl Cooks — December 22, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

    I love how these look. I might havew to make them if I get a chance. Happy holidays!

  22. #
    colleen — January 3, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    gorgeous! I made them with the maraschino cherries, but I love the idea of cranberries. I may have to make this twist next year.

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