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3 Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies on a square white plate

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread

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If you’re a shortbread fan, this Holiday Shortbread Recipe is perfect for the season with its festive pops of red and green!

The dried cranberries and green pistachios provide a pop of festive red and green to each cookie! These Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies are winners!

Holiday shortbread in a white bowl

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread

We used to gather for our neighborhood Christmas cookie exchange in the morning, sipping on a cup of tea or coffee with a few nibbles, then gathering a few cookies from each sweet laden platter before heading out to lunch. One year, we shook it up a bit and met later in the day with wine and appetizers (my kind of dinner!). This holiday shortbread recipe was my contribution in 2013.

Holiday Shortbread cookies on a squarewhite plate

How Does Shortbread Differ from Sugar Cookies?

When some friends on a foodie board were looking for cookie exchange ideas, this recipe for Cranberry, Pistachio, White Chocolate Shortbread was mentioned. The red cranberries and green pistachios make them festive without any extra effort. I added white chocolate just because I am a fan. They were perfect for our annual holiday cookie exchange.

If you love shortbread or if you love pistachios or, heck, if you just love cookies, you need to bake up a batch of these babies. The dough freezes well, so you can keep a roll of it in your freezer for those unexpected guests. A couple of my neighbors are shortbread aficionados, and these garnered high praise. I know you’ll become a quick fan of this holiday shortbread, too.

If you’re wondering how the shortbread is different from other types of sugar cookies, you’re not alone!

Shortbread Cookies have a higher butter to flour recipe, making them more delicate than roll-out sugar cookies. They also bake at a lower temperature and are very tender. These are more buttery than sweet.

Traditional Sugar Cookies have less butter than shortbread cookies, making them more sturdy and better for rolling and cutting. They contain more sugar than shortbread cookies, so they are sweeter. If packed correctly, your typical sugar cookies are better for shipping than the more crumbly shortbread cookies.

Neighborhood Cookie Exchange group photo

2013 Cookie Exchange

  • Roll the cookie dough into two logs, each with a 2-inch diameter.
  • Wrap them well in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. The dough can also be frozen.
  • When ready to bake, pull the dough out of the fridge and gently roll the logs back and forth so there is no flat side.
  • PRO-Tip: Storing the dough logs in an old paper towel tube helps keep the cylindrical shape.
  • Since the dough is full of nuts and chocolate, a serrated knife works best for cutting.
  • If your dough gets too warm, you may find your rounds get misshapen when slicing. Pop your logs back into the refrigerator or freezer if this happens to rechill the dough. If any of the dough slices need reshaping, feel free to nudge them into rounds again.
  • PRO-Tip: Since this dough is packed full of add-ins, it may be hard to get it to come together. If needed, add up to 2 teaspoons of water to help moisten the dough (especially if there’s low humidity where you store your flour).

More Shortbread Cookies You’ll Love

This recipe was first shared in January 2013. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

3 Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies on a square white plate

The Recipe: Cranberry, Pistachio, White Chocolate Shortbread

Shortbread cookies with holiday colors from the cranberries and pistachios

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1-2 teaspoons water, optional if dough does not hold together

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir till just mixed. Fold in the pistachios, cranberries, and white chocolate into the dough until well distributed.
  4. If your dough does not hold together, add a teaspoon or 2 of water and mix well.
  5. Shape the dough into 2 logs about 2 inches in diameter then chill for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.
  6. Preheat oven to 325º and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Slice the cookies 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place about 1 inch apart on prepared pans. Bake for 16-20 minutes. The cookies are ready when they begin to brown around the edge.

Notes

Total time does not reflect chilling time.

Adapted from Grand Central Bakery.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

2 cookies

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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40 comments on “Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Shortbread”

  1. That looks a perfect holiday treat. I popped in to wish you a very happy new year. May this year bring you a lot of happiness. God bless!

  2. That not only looks tasty, but it is beautiful too!

  3. Love the flavor combo ! And white chocolate is always a must for me 😀

  4. I want a dozen of these. Or two. They are gorgeous. Happy New Year Liz. Hope to see you in the spring.

  5. Perfect holiday colors and I’ll bet they taste incredible! Like you, appetizers are a favorite meal of mine also!

  6. I love all of the above! I think you are really trying my New Year’s will power Lizzy! These sound and look scrumptious!

  7. Yum, these look really really delicious. I love shortbread cookies and the pistachio and the white chocolate make them even more delicious.

  8. Totally gorgeous photo of your shortbread. Love the photo of you and your friends too.

  9. These cookies look delish! I’m just wondering about the garland in the pic, It looks like felted wool? just wondering if anybody knows how to make it. I love it.

    • Carol, yes, the garland is made of felt, but it wasn’t hand felted. I purchased it at Crate and Barrel this year for our Christmas tree…but instead it stayed in my photo studio for holiday pictures. I just love it!

  10. Incredible combination of flavors!!! I would love to try this shortbread. 🙂

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