cookies · dessert

Soft and Chewy Vanilla-Orange Cranberry Cookies

Christmas cookies. I think we established last year that I don’t make tons of tons of cookies at Christmas because who ends up eating them? We do. So I try to only bake if I have a specific purpose – either people coming over or as a gift. Or to bake for fun with the kids.

We had students over a few nights ago for a finals study time, and I wanted to bake for them. I’ve learned that sometimes people don’t like chocolate, so it’s good to have a non-chocolate option. I saw these Vanilla-Orange Cranberry cookies on King Arthur Flour’s instagram feed and decided to give them a try. While I don’t generally love dried fruit, these were quite tasty… tasty enough to share with you! I did lessen the amount of cranberries from the original recipe.

The cookies were also incredibly simple and fast to make. Let’s be honest… that’s actually what won me over. I got home about 20 minutes before people were coming over and could both mix and bake them in that time. And that’s really why I’m sharing the recipe with you nine days before Christmas.

Important to note: if people think these are chocolate chip cookies, they will be sorely disappointed. I speak from experience.

Three vanilla-orange cranberry cookies on a white plate

Soft and Chewy Vanilla-Orange Cranberry Cookies

Course Cookies
Yield 40 cookies


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (8 tablespoons, 113g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (149g)
  • grated peel of 1 medium to large orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (177g)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (6-oz package, 255g, or a mixture of dried cranberries and toasted chopped walnuts or pecans)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, orange peel, vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Add the flour and dried cranberries (or cranberries and nuts), stirring until well combined.
  5. Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2" between them. A level teaspoon cookie scoop works very well here; dough balls will be about 1 1/4" in diameter. Using the flat bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flatten the cookies slightly, to a scant 1/2" thick.
  6. Bake the cookies for 6 to 7 minutes, until they're barely set, and a light golden brown around the edges. Don't over-bake; if you do, the cookies will be hard, not soft and chewy. Gently lift one of the cookies and look at the bottom; if you've used parchment, it shouldn't be brown. If you're baking on a dark cookie sheet without parchment, it should be light (not dark) brown.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. If you need a pan to bake the remainder of the cookies, give the cookies about 5 minutes to set before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
  8. Store cookies in an airtight container, and they will stay soft for several days.


Source: Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

What do you think?