Noms: Cranberry Citrus Butter Cookies (with Optional Lemon Glaze)

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A plate of cranberry cookies sits on a plate in front of a lemon, lime and orange.

Last week, I reviewed the new Girl Scout cookies, Cranberry Citrus Crisps. My overall impression was that they were good but not great. I liked the flavors, but I thought they could have been stronger. Made with whole grain, the cookies weren’t sweet enough for me. Their animal-cracker crunchiness was a little strange with the sticky cranberry pieces.

I liked the cookies, but I wished they were a little different. So, this weekend, I set out to make them the way I wanted them: softer, sweeter and with more citrus taste. The end result? Pretty tasty!

 I started by browsing citrus cookie recipes, and The Pioneer Woman’s Citrus Butter Cookies looked promising. Then, because I love lemon-glazed Girl Scout Lemonades, I looked for a lemon glaze recipe, and, as always, Sally’s Baking Addiction had just what I wanted.

Warning: These cookies are not easy! At least not for someone like me, with pretty basic baking skills. These guys are going to have you zesting and juicing — both things I had never done before. Nothing you can’t learn from some solid Googling, though 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

Cranberry Citrus cookies call for a lot of ingredients.

Butter — Sugar — Eggs — Lemons — Lime — Orange — Flour — Powdered Sugar — Half-and-Half — Dried Cranberries (not pictured!)

And, of course, cranberries! How did I forget to put them in the photo? Any 6 oz. bag of dried cranberries is fine.

Because I knew the zesting and juicing would take me forever, I did that first. I was pretty intimidated to try zesting — I’ve skipped many tasty-looking recipes before to avoid it. But it was easy! Just grab a zester — I got mine for $10 at Bed, Bath & Beyond — and run your fruit across it. Don’t use a ton of pressure — you don’t want to scrape off the white part, just the colored part.

A zester sits on a plate with orange and its zest.

You’ll end up with a bunch of colorful zest and weird naked fruit. Mix together about a tablespoon of each zest, lemon, lime and orange, then pop it in the fridge until you need it.

Colorful zest sits in a bowl with orange, lemon and lime.

Next, the juicing. I picked up this little plastic thing for about $3 at Hy-Vee. I think it’s meant for use with grapefruit, but it works.

Half a lime sits on a red juicer.

Between that tool and hand-squeezing, I got all the juice I needed from half of each fruit. Save your extra half-lemon for the glaze!

Set aside all your juices, and take a break to enjoy the colors. Congrats! The hard part is over.

Fruits and juices sit on a counter.

I love all of these colors!

So, remember how Girl Scout Cranberry Citrus Crisps are healthy cookies? These are not. Look at what you’re mixing together here. Four sticks of butter. 1 ½ cups sugar. Yum. Mix them until well combined, then mix in 2 egg yolks, one at a time. (Yes, you have to separate the eggs. You can use a separator. I did. It’s fine.)

Butter and sugar sit in a bowl.

Next, add your flour, zest and juice. I used 1 tablespoon of each kind of zest and each kind of juice. So much flavor!

Various ingredients for cookies sit in a bowl.

Finally, stir in the cranberries.

Cranberries are piled on top of cookie dough.

The dough ended up being a little dry and crumbly for me, but it still shaped up fine. Roll it into balls about the size of ping-pong balls, then pop it all in the oven! Bake until they’re browning a little bit on the bottom — they’ll still be pretty pale on top. I kind of guessed at when each batch was done, but 12-15 minutes was the average.

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Ta dah! So, so tasty.

Cranberry citrus cookies sit on a plate.

If you want, you can stop here. My friends loved the cookies just like this. Or, if you’re a sugar/lemon monster like me, you can keep going and glaze the cookies after they’ve cooled.

Grab your leftover lemon half and juice it, plus another lemon. Add half-and-half. Then start adding powdered sugar until you get it to the consistency you like — I used about 2 cups.

A bowl holds lemon juice and cream.

Let the glaze stand for a little bit to get a little more solid, then start dunking your cookies! I held them by the bottom, submerged the whole rounded top part then let them dry on a sheet of parchment paper. Repeat to your liking — all of mine were triple-dipped! Yum.

Glazed cookies sit on a plate with an orange and lime in the background.

All in all, I was very happy with how these cookies turned out. They tasted great, and all of the citrus smells and colors made me think of summer. I can’t wait to make them for a warmer day 🙂


THE RECIPE

Cranberry Citrus Butter Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 large lime
  • 1 orange
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 sticks salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs (you’ll only use the yolk)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsps half-and-half
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F.
  2. Zest the orange, lime and one lemon. Combine 1 tablespoon of each zest (for 3 tablespoons total) and set aside.
  3. Juice half of each fruit, lemon, lime and orange, and set aside. Save your leftover half-lemon for the glaze!
  4. Use an electric mixer to mix the butter and sugar until well combined.
  5. Separate the eggs and mix in the yolks one at a time. You won’t need the whites.
  6. Add the zest and flour. Mix until just combined.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of each juice (for 3 tablespoons total) and mix until combined.
  8. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir in the cranberries.
  9. Shape dough into ping-pong-ball-sized balls. Place evenly spaced on an ungreased, unlined cookie sheet. They won’t spread much.
  10. Bake until slightly browning on the bottom, about 12-15 minutes.
  11. Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the sheet and allow them to cool completely before glazing.
  12. Juice 1 1/2 lemons and pour the juice into a medium-sized bowl. Add 3 tablespoons half-and-half.
  13. Using a whisk, fork or spoon, gently mix in powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency — about 2 cups. Let stand for a few minutes to solidify a bit.
  14. Holding cookies by the bottom edges, submerge rounded tops in glaze, then place right-side-up on parchment or wax paper. Allow to dry and set.
  15. Repeat as desired, depending on the consistency of your glaze. I dipped each cookie 3 times.
  16. Allow cookies to dry completely, then enjoy! Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Original recipes over at The Pioneer Woman (Cookies) and Sally’s Baking Addiction (Glaze).

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2 thoughts on “Noms: Cranberry Citrus Butter Cookies (with Optional Lemon Glaze)

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