Cranberry pistachio shortbread is so easy to make! Chopped white chocolate completes the festive colour scheme of these holiday cookies. With a touch of orange blossom water in place of vanilla, they're a delicious alternative to plain shortbread cookies.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Orange blossom water: use vanilla instead, or any other essence you like or have on hand. You can also omit the orange blossom water and swap in the zest of one small orange.
- Dried cranberries: use other dried fruit you like. Currants are nice.
- Pistachios: swap an equal amount of any other chopped nuts for the pistachios.
- White chocolate: dark and milk chocolate are good substitutes for white, and will make the cookies slightly less sweet.
- Make it plant-based: use a good vegan butter, like Miyoko's, if you want to make the cookies dairy-free.
Step 1: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add the melted butter and orange blossom water.
Step 2: stir until the dough looks sandy, with some clumps.
Step 3: mix in the dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate, then turn out onto a sheet of parchment paper.
Step 4: shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands. A bench scraper can be helpful for this.
Step 5: carefully transfer the dough to a baking sheet.
Step 6: bake until the shortbread is lightly golden around the edges.
Step 7: cut into bars while the shortbread is still hot.
Step 8: cool fully on a wire rack before serving or storing.
- Sift it in: though the powdered sugar will be absorbed by the melted butter, we still recommend sifting it into the flour to remove any large lumps to prevent over-mixing.
- Salt to taste: the base of the shortbread has a definite salty note to offset the sweetness of the cookie and the white chocolate. Feel free to reduce the salt amount by half if you prefer.
- Lift carefully: use two offset spatulas to lift the shaped dough onto the baking sheet. Alternatively, simply shape the dough directly on parchment paper set onto the baking sheet.
The shortbread is sliced while still hot, as soon as it's out of the oven. We like the look of a finger-style cookie, but you can slice the shortbread however you like. Small squares work well. Keep in mind that the cookies can crumble while hot, and will be crumbly and delicate until fully cooled.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to five days.
Freezing: transfer fully cooled cookies to an airtight container and freeze for up to two months.
What are common mistakes when making shortbread?
The most common mistake for shortbread is to over-mix it, which results in tough cookies. Others include adding too much flour (especially when shaping) and cutting after the cookies have cooled.
Should butter be cold or soft for shortbread?
It depends on the recipe, and some shortbread will even use melted butter. In any case, it's important to follow the directions listed in the recipe, which will have been tested with those particular ingredients.
Do you cut shortbread before or after baking?
It's best to cut shortbread after baking, while it's still hot. It's usually too soft to cut before baking and too hard to cut nice pieces when it's cooled, so that point when it's fresh out of the oven is the sweet spot.
If you make this Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread recipe or any other cookie recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Large bowl
- Long sharp knife
- Wire rack
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- ¼ cup dried cranberries chopped
- ¼ cup unsalted pistachios chopped, raw, and shelled
- ¼ cup white chocolate chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC) and have a standard half-sheet 17-¼ x 12-14 inches (44 x 31-cm) baking sheet ready. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, and salt.
- Add the melted butter and orange blossom water to the flour mixture and stir until all of the dry ingredients are combined.
- Fold in the chopped dried cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate. Stir until well combined.
- Place the sheet of parchment paper on a work surface and dump the shortbread dough on top.
- Gather the dough into a rough disc with your hands. Using your fingertips, gently press the dough all over, working it into a smooth round disc.
- Still using your fingertips, continue to work the dough gently, shaping it into a rectangle shape, about 7 x 8-inches (18 x 20-cm) in size and ¼-inch (6-mm) thick.
- A bench scraper or the edge of a long knife can help create straight edges as you go.
- Once the shortbread dough is pressed into shape, gently slide your hand under the parchment paper and transfer the shortbread dough to the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the pre-heated oven and bake the shortbread slab for 33 to 35 minutes, or until the dough is lightly golden around the edges.
- Remove the shortbread from the oven and carefully transfer the hot cookie slab, still on the parchment paper, to a cutting board (we used two large spatulas to do this).
- Using a long, sharp knife, slice the cookie slab into individual squares or rectangles while still hot.
- Transfer the sliced shortbread cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely before serving or packaging as gifts.