I enjoy making cookies for the holidays. I know they’re a treat, but an occasional indulgence is perfectly fine in my book! And what’s so great about baking this time of year is you can share some of your goodies as a holiday gift from your home. But let’s face it, it can be hard to find something new and different to bake up. That’s why I love these Cranberry Orange Crisp cookies so much. They’re delicious, easy, and really unique. Going to a holiday baking cookie party? I bet you’ll be the ONLY one to bring this recipe!
Now this history behind these cookies is a kind of interesting. Back in 1998 when I ran the Pillsbury Dessert and Baking Mixes business there was a recipe for Cranberry Crisps that won a prize in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. It was made out of cranberry quick bread mix, something that I’ve since stopped using given all the processed ingredients in these kind of mixes. So for while I didn’t make these cookies. 🙁 But a couple years ago I decided I wanted to bring them back, but this time using real, fresh ingredients. And here’s the result … my Cranberry Orange Crisps!
Made with whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and real cranberries, these cookies are a real treat that will become one of your holiday favorites!
So if you’re looking for something new and different to try for this holiday, give these beauties a whirl! I promise, you’ll fall in love at your first bite!
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 12 tablespoons butter (we recommend pastured, grass-fed butter)
- ⅞ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped finely (see notes)
- ¼ cup sugar (used to press cookies)
- Beat the butter, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl or a stand mixer. Add the orange zest, vanilla extract, and juice. Stir in the flour/baking powder mixture.
- Divide the dough into two pieces and form into logs. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F degrees with two racks in place in the middle of the oven. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Chop the cranberries finely and place in a bowl. Also measure ¼ cup of sugar and place in a second bowl.
- Take the dough out from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Divide dough into 48 similarly sized pieces. Shape dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Flatten each ball with your thumb and sprinkle with cranberries. Then dip the base of a glass into the bowl of sugar. Press the cookie flat with the glass until about ⅛-inch thick. If a cookie stick to the glass, use a knife or metal spatula to remove it and flatten it again with a glass dipped in sugar.
- Bake the cookies in a 350F degree oven for about 7 minutes, then reverse the pans (so the pan on the upper oven rack goes to the lower rack, and the pan on the lower rack goes to the upper rack). Cookies are done when they turn golden brown around the edges—around 14-15 minutes of total bake time. Cool the cookies for a minute on the baking sheet and then transfer to a rack. Repeat with the second batch of dough and enjoy!
Frozen cranberries work too. Just make sure they are thawed and any excess moisture has been absorbed by a cloth or paper towel.
If you want a little extra fruity/berry flavor in your cookies, consider adding ½ cup chopped currants or goji berries.
I make my own baking powder since so many making baking powders have aluminum in them (in the form of sodium aluminum phosphate and / or aluminum sulfate). It’s very easy to make: two parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda.
What’s your favorite cookie to make for the holidays? Have you adapted a recipe over time to make it include more real, less processed ingredients? Please share your story (and recipe if you want) in the comments below!
Kitchen Resources and Tips:
- A high quality baking sheet is indispensable in the kitchen. Here’s one from NordicWare that’s similar to what I have.
- If you’ve never baked with parchment paper, you should definitely give it a try. It’s so simple to use, and it makes clean-up a breeze. Here’s an unbleached parchment paper that is Green Seal Certified.
- When you’re baking a couple batches of cookies it’s easy to run out of room to cool your baked goods. That’s why I love these tiered cooling racks that can save you some real kitchen real estate!