A year-round favourite, these Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are easy to make and have that classic shortbread rich buttery flavour.
A drizzle of white chocolate will dress them up to impress for your Christmas dessert tray!
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Cranberry Holiday Shortbread
These Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are among our favourite Christmas Shortbread cookies to enjoy over the holidays along with Grandma’s famous shortbread and fruitcake shortbread glazed cookies.
We love this buttery, crumbly shortbread combined with the sweetness of the cranberry and drizzled icing. Together with the perfect crunch of the pistachios, make this cookie irresistible for shortbread lovers.
I love to box up cookies as gifts and these cookies are nice and sturdy, perfect for holiday season Christmas gift-giving.
If you’re not quite ready to enjoy these now, you can prepare the dough and refrigerate or freeze it. Slice and bake whenever you’re ready!
Why you’ll love this shortbread cookie
- Easy recipe with simple ingredients
- Make-ahead and slice and bake when ready
- Buttery crumbly shortbread with sweet and crunchy touches
- Great for boxed gift-giving
- Looks great on any holiday Christmas cookie platter
Ingredients for Christmas cranberry shortbread cookies
- Powdered sugar
- Shelled pistachios – if you can’t find shelled, raw pistachios (with the skin removed) I have directions below for how to remove them.
- All-purpose flour
- Salted butter, at room temperature – I’ve used both salted and unsalted butter in this recipe and the’ve been delicious with both!
- Dried cranberries
- White or dark chocolate is optional for drizzle
- Vanilla and almond extract – use pure extracts for both if you have them. Artificial flavours will work but will not be as tasty!
Substitutions for Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread biscuits
You can substitute milk, white or dark chocolate for the icing drizzle.
Dried cherries would also be a good substitute for the cranberries.
Walnuts is your best substitute for the pistachios in this shortbread recipe.
Step by step instructions for easy cranberry pistachio shortbread cookies
(Preheat oven to 300°F) After chilling the dough.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mat.
This recipe comes together quickly and does require some refrigeration.
How to remove the skins from pistachios
If you cannot find pistachios without the skin removed, you can easily remove the skins by placing the shelled pistachios in boiling water for two minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Wrap them up in a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove the skins.
Next, chop coarsely by hand using a sharp knife or process about 10 times in a food processor. Place nuts on parchment paper.
In large mixing bowl, or bowl from stand mixer, cream together butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Beat until light and fluffy.
(I like to do the rest of the cookie dough by hand)
Add in all-purpose flour and stir just until combined.
Gently fold in the dried cranberries.
Divide dough into three equal portions and roll each portion in a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, unwrap and roll logs in chopped pistachios. You will have to press down and may need to roll them a few times to get an even coating.
Wrap again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Cut dough log into 1/4″ thick slices. Place one inch apart of parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes until the edges are light golden.
Cool for three to four minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire cooling racks.
Chocolate Drizzle (optional)
Melt two to three ounces of white or dark chocolate in double-boiler on stove or heat on low heat in microwave. Stir until melted.
Drizzle over top of cooled cookies with a fork, or transfer chocolate to a piping bag and use a small tip to drizzle over top of cookies.
Variations for cranberry pistachio cookies
You can use dried cherries with pistachios or walnuts and a dark or milk chocolate drizzle. This makes a great customized cherry pistachio or walnut shortbread cookie which is also delicious!
We rolled the edge of the cookies in finely chopped pistachios to give it more flavor and visual appeal. You can choose to skip this step and enjoy the shortbreads without the nut edge.
Top Tips for making the best cranberry pistachio shortbread cookies
- Always use room temperature butter and eggs for best baking results
- Pure vanilla extract offers much better flavor
- Level off the flour with a knife do not pat or shake as this will result in the wrong amount of flour for the recipe
- Do not over mix the dough
- You can refrigerate or freeze the dough and slice and bake when ready
Why do my shortbread cookies come out chewy?
You have over-worked the dough, mix it until just combined and light and fluffy.
Can I make ahead this shortbread cookie recipe?
Yes you can, one of the best things about this recipe is that you can store the wrapped dough in the fridge for 7 days then slice and bake as you need it.
You can also place the wrapped dough in a freezer-safe container for 2 – 3 months. Thaw the dough for 30 minutes and slice and bake as needed.
If you wanted the nut edge you would have to add this after slicing before baking.
Storage and freezing instructions for cranberry shortbread cookies
Store the shortbreads in an airtight container for 3 – 5 days or in the fridge for up to 7 days. Separate any layers with parchment paper.
Freeze the shortbreads in a freezer-safe container for 2 -3 months, separating the layers with parchment paper.
Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.
You might also enjoy these Christmas cookie recipes!
Christmas Shortbread Bites
Empire Cookies or Biscuits
Funfetti Sugar Cookies
Pecan Sandies Chocolate Dipped