Cookie Exchange: Fresh Cranberry, White Chocolate and Sea Salt Shortbread

This is the first in a series of posts called Cookie Exchange. My family (aka my mom and I) make traditional Huisinga Christmas cookies every year. Dozens and hundreds of cookies. After participating in the classic American cookie exchange with our extended family and friends, our family usually has enough frozen cookies to last us ’til kingdom come. (That is, unless kingdom comes in March, in which case, we would still have a few honey cookies left.)

I thought it would be neat to share the cookies we make every year and maybe inspire some traditions in your house. It would also be sweet if you all would pipe up on your favorite Christmas cookies in the comments. I’d love to try something new! Sound good? Good.

Now, on to the cookies. This is actually my variation on the recipe my mom has made for years. Typically, she uses dried cranberries, but I don’t particularly like that they have added sugar in them. Plus, we had fresh cranberries in the house, and how often does that happen? In addition to the fresh cranberries, I also included a sprinkling of sea salt on the top, which I realize is a bit foodie-ish of me, but let me tell you–it was a great addition. I used unsalted butter in the shortbread, so I chucked some regular salt in the dough as well.

The white chocolate offsets the tartness of the cranberries so, so beautifully. The cranberrries weren’t even as tart as I thought they might be; I’m thinking of dialing back the sugar a bit next time, and perhaps the butter, as the moisture in the fresh cranberries made for a very soft shortbread. Girl wants a bit moreĀ crunch sometimes.

But of course, they look perfectly festive. Crunch or no crunch, I’m in a holiday mood.

Happy bakes,


Fresh Cranberry, White Chocolate and Sea Salt Shortbread

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 cups unsalted butter

1 cup white sugar

4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

6 ounces white chocolate (chips or a chopped bar)

flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the table salt and flour, a cup at a time, and mix until well blended.

Give the cranberries a rough chop, or pulse about seven times in the food processor. Add the cranberries to the dough along with the white chocolate, and mix until well blended.

Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a touch of sea salt, then flatten slightlly with the bottom of a glass.

Bake for 11-14 minutes, according to your preference. Let them firm up on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These freeze well!

20 Responses to “Cookie Exchange: Fresh Cranberry, White Chocolate and Sea Salt Shortbread”

  1. 2 Mum November 26, 2012 at 9:28 am

    The recipe is from Auntie Andrea. She deserves credit for a great addition to our holiday baking!

  2. 3 Welcome Company with Danielle November 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I agree, these are gorgeous and look delicious. I will absolutely try them. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. 4 Cindy and Tom Behling November 26, 2012 at 10:34 am

    All the ingredients we love here! On the list to try. Lauren, have you any recipes for a refrigerator brown cookie, which you slice from a square loaf, and it is imbedded with sliced almonds? For decades, I have trying to find the recipe my German great grandmother from Sachsen used to make. I ask every baker this question.

  4. 5 Lauren November 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Hi Cindy–Thank you for your sweet comments! I haven’t seen a recipe like it, but I’ll keep on lookout!

  5. 6 Welcome Company with Danielle December 4, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I will be trying these cookies tomorrow and I popped on to get the recipe written down. I saw the comment from Cindy above and I have that exact recipe from my grandmother, well almost exact, she called them Ice Box Cookies and made them with walnuts. I will dig up the recipe and message it to you, maybe it will be what you are looking for. Then I’ll bake them and put them on my blog, I always LOVED them but haven’t thought about them for a long time. Thanks for the memory!

  6. 7 Welcome Company with Danielle December 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Here is my grandmother’s basic (very basic) Ice Box Cookie Recipe, it was written back in the day when the instructions were a given. Here are the ingredients:

    1 Cup Brown Sugar
    1 Cup White Sugar
    1 Pound Butter
    3 Eggs
    6 Cups Flour
    1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (I’m sure almonds would be fine)
    1 tsp. Vanilla
    1 tsp. Baking Soda dissolved in 1 Tbsp. cold water (where would you incorporate this step, at the end as it is written or after the eggs are added before the flour – I’d love your opinion).

    Shape into a small “log” roll and make rectangular. Refrigerate several hours, slice and bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes. I will make them and post them on my blog tomorrow or the next day (I haven’t yet tested this recipe) with instructions and results. Hope it is what you are looking for Cindy. I know they were a classic in my family.

  7. 8 Lauren December 5, 2012 at 9:26 am

    thanks, danielle! those look great!

  8. 9 Welcome Company with Danielle December 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I made these cookies yesterday for a brunch I had. They were amazing and a big hit! The touch of sea salt was perfect. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  9. 10 Cindy and Tom Behling December 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks Danielle! I will give your recipe a try and see if this is what I was seeking.

  10. 11 Cindy and Tom Behling December 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    We made the cranberry white chocolate sea salt shortbreads this morning….actually Baker Tom did….and they are splendid!

  11. 12 Cindy and Tom Behling February 24, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Repeating this recipe for Beth’s Masters class at St. Thomas on Monday. They were so good at Christmastime that I can’t wait to have them again!

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  1. 1 A Flood of Memories from The Icebox | Welcome Company Trackback on December 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm
  2. 2 Cookie Exchange: Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies « piping dreams Trackback on December 19, 2012 at 9:02 am
  3. 3 Tea Party Day | piping dreams Trackback on March 5, 2013 at 8:31 am

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