Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies

These may be some of my favorite cookies ever.

I mean, nothing beats a good ole' chocolate chip cookie of course. But the texture and saltiness of shortbread cookies really have won me over. If you've never really given shortbread cookies a chance, I'm inviting you to do so now. They're really very easy, and can be made with any of your favorite fixings. I picked a holiday classic, cranberries and walnuts because I made these as holiday gifts for teachers and neighbors. Read more about that here.  

The key to these cookies is in the butter of course, and well the salt. Now, if I'm being perfectly honest I always use salted butter when I bake. And still add the required amount of salt. I just like salt, folks. So, if you're like me and like a salty sweet, go ahead and use salted butter. You won't regret it. 

All photos courtesy of Mariah Cropley Photo

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Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies
I adapted this recipe from my mother-in-laws old cookbook collection. Aren't those always the best?
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set one aside. Spread the nuts on the other baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes; watch that they do not burn. Cool, then coarsely chop and set aside.2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt, and set aside.3. In a stand mixer or with a hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very smooth. Add the vanilla and beat for 1 minute. Add the cranberries and nuts, and combine on low speed. Slowly blend in the flour and salt.4. Gather up the dough and transfer it to a large sheet of wax paper. Pat the dough into a rectangle roughly 4 inches wide and 18 inches long. Stop here for square cookies, or use the wax paper to help you roll the dough into a log shape. Neaten the ends and place the wax-paper-wrapped dough in the freezer for 10 minutes, or the fridge over night.5. Lower the oven temperature to 325ºF. Remove the wax paper from the log and, using a sharp knife, slice into ¼-inch-thick rounds (or thicker if you prefer). Space the cookies about 1-inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies should not brown but remain pale with just a hint of browning around the edges.6. Cool on wire racks.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 dozen