Cranberry Orange Cookies

Posted on: November 14, 2022. Updated on: July 11, 2023.

by Carolina Gelen

4 / 5. from 51

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3 words: cranberry orange cookies! I’m talking tart, pink, cranberry cookies topped with silky, rich cream cheese frosting, and bittersweet candied orange slices. Every bite of this cookie makes you want to go in for more.

This was such a fun recipe to develop, it was one of those recipes that starts with a visual idea I need to figure out how to bring to life. Initially, I wanted a hot pink cranberry cookie that’s tangy, and sweet, and tastes like cranberry. I tried various methods of adding cranberries to my main cookie dough, from raw, to frozen, to rum-soaked craisins. The most efficient one (and the one you will find in this recipe) was cooking down the cranberries for 30 minutes, until they turn into a thick, dark red paste. The paste concentrates the flavor and tanginess of 340 g of cranberries, in less than one cup, which will color and flavor the cookie dough.

The overall texture leans of the fudgy, cakey side of cookies. It’s tender, moist and soft, but has enough structure to hold the frosting. The cookie is pleasantly tangy and sweet. After my first successful test, I felt like expanding the flavor profile of this dessert with a simple cream cheese frosting and bittersweet candied orange slices. While both those components would be pretty modest in flavor on their own, they add so much complexity and contrast to the dessert. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

4 / 5. from 51

Click to vote

Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

CANDIED ORANGE

  • 1 medium orange
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean pod, scraped

CRANBERRY COOKIE DOUGH

  • 340 g (12 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 186 g (1 stick and 5 tablespoons) room temperature butter
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) white granulated sugar
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (about the zest of one medium orange)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 168 g (about 1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 226 g (8 oz) room temperature cream cheese
  • 42 g (3 tablespoons) room temperature butter
  • 150 g (1 1/3 cup) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the candied orange slices, thinly slice the orange using a sharp knife or mandolin, into 3 mm slices. Create a parchment paper lid (cartouche) by cutting a parchment paper circle the size of the pan and trimming a hole in the middle. This will help the oranges stay submerged in syrup at all times. Add the sugar, water, vanilla and orange slices to a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Juice the remaining orange that might’ve been too thin too slice any further in the pan as well. Simmer on low heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until the orange slices go from a bright color, to a darker, faded one.
  2. Add the cranberries to a small saucepan over medium heat, with 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, mixing occasionally to crush the cranberries, until they turn into a rich, thick paste and the bottom of the pot is covered in a red, sticky film. The cranberry paste should weigh about 195 g. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add the white sugar and salt to a mixing bowl. Add the orange zest and rub the two together until the sugar turns yellow and fragrant. Add the butter, brown sugar and mix using a stand or electric mixer, for 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the the cooled cranberry paste. Separately, whisk the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the dough and mix in using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
  4. Rest the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Scoop the chilled dough onto the baking sheet (using a 3-tablespoon-sized ice cream scoop), leaving 2 cm or 1 inch in between each scoop. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Flatten each scoop with your finders and roughly shape and smooth the edges. The cookies won’t spread that much, they will puff up and rise but will have roughly the same size and shape as the raw cookie dough. Set the cookies aside to cool to room temperature.
  7. For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter and sugar in a bowl. Mix until fluffy using a stand mixer, hand mixer or whisk.
  8. To assemble, top each cookie with a dollop of frosting and a slice of orange.

Carolina Gelen

I speak 5 languages, but my favorite way to communicate is through the universal language of food. I translate food to be more approachable and accessible for the everyday cook. I didn't grow up with a lot, so I’ve always loved thrifting and finding a good sale. That also shapes my approach to cooking: I try to make most of my recipes as affordable as possible, and that is what my SCRAPS newsletter is about. Every two weeks I will send an exclusive recipe to your inbox. Subscribe to get full access to the newsletter and website.

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One thought on "Cranberry Orange Cookies"

  1. E says:

    These turned out so well! The amount of fruit in the dough is amazing. Like what I’d want fruit cake to be like, but actually good.