Tender and soft lemony cookies with a POP of fresh cranberry flavor all drizzled with a lemon glaze! Move over dried cranberries. It’s time to add some juicy, tart, fresh cranberries to baked goods. And you can start with these fresh cranberry cookies! Just in time for Christmas.
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As with last year when I did a week of Christmas cookies, and posted Snowball Cookies, Chocolate Stuffed Cookies, and Ricotta Cookies, I’m in the midst of a week of Christmas treats here!
Yesterday, I had a great recipe for Ricotta Cannoli Dip. Christmas is often All About The Cookies, but sometimes you don’t want to bake.
Today, it’s Fresh Cranberry Cookies. Yum! A great recipe to make while the fresh cranberries are still in the store.
And tomorrow, I’ll have gluten-free Pignoli Cookies, so no one needs to look sadly at the cookie tray.
A little something for everyone I think, and all from an Italian-American perspective! 🙂
Like most people, I have generally used fresh cranberries for cranberry sauce, but not thought too much of them otherwise. (Though they do make some awesome cranberry margaritas!) It wasn’t until I had a pile of cranberries left in my fridge after doing a few recipes that I wondered ‘why can’t I bake with them?’
And, really, why can’t I?
Have you ever baked with fresh cranberries? Because, if you haven’t, you’ve been missing out like I was! Since it turns out that fresh cranberries make some very tasty and easy cranberry cookies! Perfect for Christmas or Thanksgiving or simply because you want some cookies. 🙂 I personally consider ‘just wanting cookies’ to be an excellent reason to make these!
A few notes about the cookies before we get to the recipe:
For the glaze, I preferred a rustic drizzle from the tip of my spoon. It’s pretty low stress since it’s ‘rustic’, and sweetens the cookies without obscuring the cranberries.
Definitely flatten the cookies a little before baking! They take too long to cook through if you don’t, so the outside gets too brown before the center is set.
Be ready to add the red sanding sugar as soon as you glaze the cookies. Wait too long and it’ll slide right off! However, I did like giving the glaze a couple of minutes to set a little since the sugar didn’t sink in so much.
Oh, and cranberries? Oddly enough, they love to roll around when you are trying to chop them! Use a large cutting board and be ready for escapees as you work. The combo of round and hard makes keeping them in place rather difficult. (And any hopeful dogs will have an interesting surprise when they try the sour cranberries which rolled off to the floor! Mine looked totally betrayed after she ate one.)
– Happy Baking, Annemarie
Fresh Cranberry Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 14 tbsp (7 oz, 1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter cool room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tbsp cream cheese
- red sanding sugar optional
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, table salt, and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer), rub the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar has become lemon scented. Add the butter and beat the sugar and butter together on medium high until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just blended. Pour the cranberries into the bowl and fold them in with a silicone spatula. Put the cookie dough in the refrigerator and chill for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Gently flatten the tops of the cookies with the bottom of a measuring cup or glass. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to cooling racks and cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together the confectioners' sugar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, lemon zest, and cream cheese until smooth, adding more lemon juice if needed so that the glaze drizzles from the end of a spoon.
- Using your spoon, scoop up the glaze and drizzle it over the cookies until all the cookies have some glaze on them. Sprinkle the glazed cookies with red sanding sugar.
- I used a #40 zeroll disher to scoop out the cookies.
- Be careful when chopping the cranberries. They have a tendency to roll around and try to escape.
- You can add the sanding sugar immediately after glazing the cookies, but I prefer how they look if you let the glaze set for a few minutes first. This way the sugar doesn't sink in but sits more on the top of the glaze. Don't wait too long though or the glaze will fully set and the sugar won't stick.
Velencia Hungerford says
This recipe looks so good. I have a bag of leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving. I’m wondering if I can bake the cookies then freeze them and defrost for Christmas and glaze at that time? Thank you.
Absolutely! The unglazed cookies will last a couple of months in the freezer.
Jme Medina says
These are amazing! I’ve made them 3 years in a row, and always a hit. Fresh cranberries make a huge difference. Just wondering if I freeze these cookies, would they taste good after. Anyone tried that?
Can I sub with dried cherries ? And would I need to reduce the sugar to half ? I defrosted some fresh cranberries and forgot about them in the fridge for 2 weeks, not sure they’re good anymore
I think the cookies would work with dried, but I don’t know how much sugar you would need. And, yeah, 2 weeks I wouldn’t use them either!
Yummyness! I subbed orange zest and added some dark chocolate chip. Best after mellowing for a day.
Great variation! I’m glad you enjoyed them.
These cookies look fabulous. Would frozen unsweetened cranberries work?
Thanks, Rose! Just take your frozen cranberries and pulse them in the food processor (it will be noisy!) and then continue with the recipe. It’s best to use them straight from frozen in the cookies.
Thanks so much for your prompt response!
Fabulous! 12 minutes was perfect timing in my oven. Made just under 3 dozen at well,-rounded tablespoons each. Wonder if you could successfully double the recipe??
While I have doubled other cookie recipes, I haven’t done if for this one so I don’t know it can be done. Sorry I can’t be more help, but I am glad you enjoyed them.
Sooo delish! And I love the tartness from the canberries and the icing with its lemon zesty flavor!! Kudos!!
Thank you! I just make another batch myself for Christmas. 🙂
Can I freeze the dough 🙂and bake it in time for 🎄? Thank y❤️U
I haven’t tried freezing this dough, but I would say most likely yes. I’m actually making these cookies this week, so I’ll freeze some dough and then bake cookies from that and get back to you with a definite answer.
Oh.. thank you . I made these cookies last year and they came out fabulous but this year is a crazy year 😃😃no time for nothing
I hear you!
And I can report back that they freeze beautifully. I just ate a cookie from previously frozen dough and it was yummy. 🙂 Portion out the dough into cookies and freeze it up. Once it’s frozen, package the dough into a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, take out as many cookies as you want, and let the dough rest on the counter for 30-40 minutes. Bake as usual. Based on other doughs I have frozen, I would say that the dough should last about a month when well wrapped and still be as tasty as fresh.
That’s great !! Can wait to start then
Cathy | whatshouldimakefor.com says
I definitely don’t bake with fresh cranberries enough. I love the tartness they lend to recipes and I’m sure it balances out the sweetness in these cookies. A must try!
Fresh cranberries are really a revelation! They are so different from dried cranberries and I love the tartness.
These look delicious and perfect for the holidays!
Thank you! 🙂