Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are the perfect melt-in-your-mouth treat for the holiday season! This shortbread cookie recipe produces a delicious flavor combination with dried cranberries and pistachios. These delicious and festive treats are easy to make and are perfect for any occasion. They also make a thoughtful Christmas gift and are highly sought after in a cookie exchange.
Why You’ll Love This Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread
- Delightfully buttery and crumbly: The classic buttery shortbread base melts in your mouth with a satisfyingly crumbly texture.
- Sweet and tart cranberries with crunchy pistachios: The tartness of the dried cranberries perfectly balances the cookie’s subtle sweetness. In addition, the chopped pistachios add a satisfying nuttiness and crunch to every bite.
- Easy to make: These cranberry pistachio shortbread cookies require only a handful of basic ingredients. In addition, the dough comes together quickly and easily, with minimal mixing and shaping required.
- Perfect for any occasion: The combination of red cranberries and green pistachios produces the perfect Christmas cookie, making them ideal for holiday baking and gift-giving. In addition, the simple flavors and crumbly texture make them a satisfying treat any time of year.
Ingredients – Here’s What You’ll Need
With only a handful of ingredients, you can make these delicious cranberry pistachio shortbread cookies.
- Base Recipe: The cookies are made with basic shortbread ingredients: Unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and all-purpose flour.
- Added Ingredients: The dried cranberries add tartness and red color to these cookies. The shelled roasted and salted pistachios add crunch and green color to these cookies.
Simple Steps to Make the Shortbread Dough
- In a mixing bowl, I beat room-temperature butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla with my hand mixer on medium speed until the mixture was smooth. This took about a minute.
For this recipe, you don’t want to beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. The reason is that beating introduces air into the dough, causing the cookies to puff up when they are baking and to sink when they are cooling.
- Next, I added the flour and beat the mixture on low just until the flour was incorporated. I didn’t worry about the mixture being very crumbly at this point.
- Finally, I added the chopped pistachios and chopped dried cranberries and gently folded them into the dough with a wooden spoon.
Forming the Shortbread Dough
Often, shortbread recipes call for a dough log to be formed and then the shaped log cut with a sharp knife into individual cookies.
For some time, I’ve used a totally different technique. I transfer the dough to a gallon Ziploc bag.
Then, I began gently rolling the dough out with my rolling pin until it completely filled the bag in an even layer. I sealed the bag and placed it in the freezer for at least two hours.
Cutting the Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
Now is the time to bake these amazing cookies!
I removed the dough from the freezer and carefully cut away the Ziploc bag.
I placed the dough on parchment paper and let it sit for about ten minutes before cutting it into 1 ½-inch cookies. I used a bread knife to cut the cookies. I’ve found that a serrated knife works best here.
The reason for letting the dough thaw a bit was to ensure that it didn’t crack when I cut it.
I transferred the cut cookies to a silicone-lined cookie sheet and baked them at 325°F until they were a light golden brown around the edges. This took about 30 minutes.
I removed the baked cookies from the oven and transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.
The Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies were a delicious, easy-to-make treat, perfect for any occasion. With their classic taste, festive colors, and delightful texture, these cookies are certain to become a favorite in your home. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, dried cranberries and Craisins are the same thing.
When properly stored in an airtight container at room temperature, they can last up to a week.
You can freeze the cookie dough in the Ziploc bag for up to three months.
I would not recommend substituting fresh cranberries in this shortbread recipe.
I have not tried this recipe with unsalted pistachios.
Feel free to experiment with making different shapes of these pistachio cranberry shortbread cookies.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Shortbread cookies are among my favorites. You should definitely use the Ziploc bag trick. It makes things so much easier!
- I’m a huge believer in weighing my ingredients, and include the weights in the recipe below. That’s the only way I can ensure the recipe works every time. Do yourself a favor and purchase a kitchen scale if you don’t already have one. They’re not expensive at all.
- I like to coarsely chop both the cranberries and the pistachios. This helps to distribute them more evenly in the dough.
- For a festive touch, I sometimes add a drizzle of white chocolate to these holiday treats.
Other Shortbread Cookie Recipes
If you’re a fan of shortbread cookies, then you should definitely try these amazing recipes:
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Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (0.5 ounce) vanilla extract
- 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (See Tip 1)
- ¾ cup (3 ounces) shelled roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup (2 ounces) dried cranberries, coarsely chopped (See Tip 2)
- Place butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with a medium-speed electric mixer until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Do not beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour, and mix on low speed only until the flour disappears into the dough, about 1 minute. Don't work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the pistachios and dried cranberries with a wooden spoon (See Tip 3)
- Transfer the dough to a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Put the bag on a flat surface. Leaving the top open, roll the dough into a ¼-inch thick rectangle that completely fills the bag. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so that it doesn't cause creases. Seal the bag, and place in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer. (See Tip 4)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
- Put the Ziploc bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Discard the bag and turn the firm dough onto a parchment-lined board or counter. Using a ruler as a guide and a serrated knife, cut the dough into 1-½ inch squares. Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated 325°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
- Yield: 30 cookies.
- You should weigh your ingredients to ensure consistent results.
- I used Craisins for the dried cranberries.
- You don’t want to overbeat the dough because the more you beat, the more air is incorporated into the dough. This causes the cookies to puff up when baking and sink when cooling.
- I tend to put the prepared dough in the freezer primarily because I tend to have more room in the freezer. You want the butter to become hard, whichever method you use.