Looking for an amazing Cranberry Cookie recipe? Then you're going to LOVE these Cranberry Walnut Cookies!
These bite-sized treats are cute, easy to make, and so delicious ... perfect for Christmas, but so tasty that you'll crave them year round!
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When it comes to holiday flavors, do you have a favorite? One of mine is the classic cranberry + orange combo. It just screams Christmas to me!
If you a fan of these festive flavors, too, then you're going to love these scrumptious Cranberry Walnut Cookies! This easy recipe pairs a shortbread base with delightful dash of craisins, nuts, and orange zest that's so delish.
These buttery cookies are loaded with flavor, simple to make, and cute to boot ... basically, everything you want in the perfect, crowd-pleasing Christmas cookie!
Ready to try this yummy holiday treat for yourself? Then, keep reading for all the delicious details.
This recipe uses basic ingredients that you can find in any grocery store. Here's what you'll need:
- Dried Cranberries - The star of the recipe? Dried cranberries (craisins), of course!
- Nuts - This recipe calls for walnuts, but pecans or other nuts will work great, too.
- Orange - You'll use the whole orange for these cookies: zest in the dough, and juice for the glaze.
- Dough - The shortbread dough that forms the base of these cookies is made with unsalted butter, brown sugar (either light or dark is fine), kosher salt, vanilla extract, and all-purpose flour.
Pretty simple, right? You can also vary these core ingredients to change the flavor of the cookies ... you'll find some easy ideas in the Variations section below.
You'll Also Need
To make these cookies, you'll need a stand mixer, plus measuring cups and spoons, to prepare the cookie dough, and a couple baking sheets (these Circulon baking sheets are my fave). A zester for the orange is also a must (this Microplane zester is the BEST and makes the job super easy!), and these decorating bulbs make icing the cookies so simple.
Tip: to save on cleanup, use parchment paper to line your baking sheets!
How to Make Cranberry Walnut Cookies
These yummy Cranberry Orange Cookies are super simple to make! You'll find a detailed, printable recipe below, but here a quick overview of the steps:
- Toast the walnuts. Place the walnuts in a cold skillet over medium heat, the toast them until lightly browned in spots (watching closely and stirring often to avoid burning). Let the nuts cool slightly on a cutting board, then chop them into small pieces.
- Cream the butter and sugar. Combine the softened butter, brown sugar, and salt in your mixer, then blend until light and fluffy. Then mix in the vanilla extract and orange zest.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients. Add the flour in two parts, blending well after each addition. Then, mix in the cranberries and toasted nuts.
- Roll dough into balls. Grab a tablespoon of dough (I use a measuring spoon for this, but you can eyeball it), then roll it between your hands into a ball. Place on baking sheet.
- Flatten balls. Using your fingers, flatten the dough balls to about ½-inch thick. If any cracks form around the edges, gently press the dough back together.
- Bake cookies. Transfer the cookies to your oven, then bake them just until the bottoms are a light golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes or so. The tops and sides should not be browned ... use a thin spatula or fork to carefully check the bottoms (they're fragile when hot).
Once the Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies are done baking, let them rest on the baking sheet for about five minutes, then transfer them to a baking rack to cool completely before decorating.
Tip: Make sure to scrape down the mixing bowl and paddle with a spatula periodically as you make the cookie dough. That way, everything gets well combined.
Icing the Cookies
This tasty orange glaze is optional, but it really adds a lot to the finished Cranberry Cookies, both in terms of looks and flavor. Plus, it couldn't be easier to make!
- Mix glaze ingredients. To prepare the glaze, you'll combine 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar and two scant tablespoons of fresh orange juice. Stir these two ingredients together until totally smooth, then drizzle a bit of the glaze on a piece of parchment test it ... it should hold a line. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add an extra drop of two of orange juice.
- Ice cookies. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet (line your pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup), then top with cookies. Drizzle the glaze back and forth over the cookies. For best results, more quickly and go right over the edge of the cookies (the pan below will catch any drips). You can use a spoon for this, but a decorating bulb makes the process super easy and less messy, too.
Tip: Make sure your cookies are completely cooled before adding the icing, otherwise it will melt. I like to chill my cookies in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes first, just to be on the safe side.
Now that you've mastered this easy Cranberry Walnut Cookie recipe, have fun experimenting with other ingredients! Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Nuts - Replace the walnuts used here with pecans, almonds, or pistachios.
- Dried Fruit - Swap out the craisins for another dried fruit, like cherries or blueberries.
- Citrus - The orange juice / zest can be replaced with lemon or lime for a different flavor.
- No Citrus - Not a cranberry + orange fan? For a simpler cookie, leave out the orange juice and zest altogether. You can replace the juice on the glaze with milk or even water.
- Chocolate - Stir in some minced dark or white chocolate, along with the cranberries and nuts.
Once the icing has set, leftover Cranberry Nut Cookies can be stacked and stored in an airtight container, where they'll stay fresh for about a week. These pie storage containers work perfectly for cookies and last forever! Add parchment paper between the layers to protect the glaze, if desired.
If you live in a warm climate like me (or if you have a hot kitchen), store your cookies in the refrigerator so the glaze doesn't melt. You may also freeze the cookies in a zip top bag or an airtight container for up to one month (I like to use these handy slider bags).
Searching for more creative Christmas Cookies? Try one of these recipes next!
- Lemon Lavender Cookies
- Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies
- Curry Shortbread Cookies
- Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
- Honey Cookies
- Black Bottom Cupcakes (Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes!)
- Poppyseed Kiss Cookies
- Chewy Ginger Cookies
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Pecan Finger Cookies ... my all-time favorites!
- Stamped Cookies
- Classic Gingerbread Cookies
- Sour Cream Cut Out Cookies
- Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
Looking for even more cookie recipes? Then you're in luck, because I'm joining Erin from The Speckled Palate for the Sweetest Season Cookie Exchange! If you're looking for creative cookie recipes, then you'll love this awesome virtual cookbook with hundreds of delicious cookie recipes from my fellow food bloggers.
Help support a great cause! I'm especially excited about this year's exchange, because we're raising money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit that is committed to raising funds for research to develop new, improved, and less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer. If you’d like to join me supporting this wonderful organization, please consider making a donation. This year OXO is matching all donations (up to $100,000), so anything we donate will be doubled!!
Cranberry Walnut Cookies
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 2 scant tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Place walnuts in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Cook until lightly toasted, stirring frequently and watching closely.
- Transfer nuts to a cutting board. Let cool, then chop.
- Meanwhile, use stand mixer to cream together butter, brown sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
- Mix orange zest and vanilla extract into butter mixture.
- Add flour to butter mixture in two batches.
- Stir walnuts and cranberries into dough, mixing until just combined.
- Roll 1 tablespoon dough into a ball. Place on baking sheet, then flatten (using fingers) to about ½-inch thick. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies about 1-inch apart on pan.
- Bake cookies just until lightly browned on bottom, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Combine powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl, mixing until smooth.
- Place baking rack over baking sheet, then place cookies on top. Drizzle glaze over cookies using a decorating bulb, spoon, pastry bag, or zip top bag with corner snipped off.
- Let glaze set, then transfer cookies to an airtight container to store. Enjoy!