Cranberry Almond Shortbread

Christmas is merely days away. Let’s check the Hubert progress, shall we?

Only one present is still in the mail, one has yet to be bought, and just a handful are left to wrap. One of them is for the boy, and I’m hoping he doesn’t stumble upon its super secret hiding place. More than that, I’m hoping I remember where exactly that super secret hiding place is.

Our home is lit solely by twinkle lights, and I’ve incorporated Scottish touches of plaid and yarn in all of our decorations in honor of my current obsession with Outlander. All of our favorite Christmas movies have played at least once. Our dearest friends joined us for a night of Christmas pajamas, soup, and a heated game of boys vs girl charades (the ladies won, FYI). We’ve attended a tacky sweater party and 3 total Christmas work parties. Our dogs have angrily endured one picture of them wearing reindeer antlers. My parents’ hotel reservations are locked and loaded for a belated Christmas visit(!!!). My mom’s annual themed Christmas ornament is front and center on the tree. And our bank account is appropriately low.

We’re almost ready. Almost prepared for that blessed morning of presents piled as high as they were in the last scene of Home Alone 2 at The Plaza. Just one happy tradition remains: Christmas cookies.

Cranberry Almond Shortbread

When I joined clan Hubert a few years ago, I was officially inducted into their sacred holiday tradition of decorating Christmas cookies. Mounds of buttery sugar cookies rolled and cut into festive shapes, baked until delightfully golden, and smothered with sugary colored icing. We make them a few days before Christmas, so we have plenty of carbs to hold us over until my mother in law puts together her freaking incredible Christmas day lunch.

Each year looks a little different, which is just a happy commentary on our changing seasons of life. At my first one, it was just Kevin and his three brothers, my lovely sister in law, and Kevin’s parents. Over the years, 2 babies have joined the mix, as well as the little brothers’ sweet lady loves.

Tomorrow is the 2014 edition of Christmas cookie decoration. We’ve been eagerly anticipating it for weeks, but I couldn’t help but play with my own recipe and make it a wee bit grownup.

Cranberry Almond Shortbread

I chose to incorporate cranberries and almonds into my favorite shortbread recipe. Why? Because we bought a big ass bag of dried cranberries from the Costco that’s within walking distance of us (yay suburbia!!!), and I need to use them up… Ahem, I mean… I was so inspired by the flavor combination, that I couldn’t wait another day until I could satiate this need for cranberry-almond tasty goodness….

This is a simple and classy twist on a traditional shortbread recipe. Drizzled in a simple glaze, it makes for an excellent Christmas cookie gift for coworkers, sick friends, yourself, etc…

Cranberry Almond Shortbread
Cranberry Almond Shortbread

Simply knead in the almonds and cranberries, et voila! You have the makings for a delicious and classy Christmas cookie. Just don’t make yourself sick eating the dough… Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

To drizzle the glaze neatly, I used a parchment triangle. These are cheap and easy to use, and can be bought at your local Hobby Lobby or (if you’re like us and get everything from there, including your dog food). If you don’t have/want to buy parchment triangles, a small Ziploc bag will suffice as well.

Cranberry Almond Shortbread

Have the merriest of Chrismtases this year! I hope it is filled with loved ones, joy, twinkle lights, sugar cookies, and an overwhelming joy at the remembrance of Christ’s birth.

Should you have any aaaaaamazing Christmas cookies, please do share! In the meantime, I’ll be eating my weight in Christmas sweets until debilitating guilt sinks.

Cranberry Almond Shortbread

Cranberry Almond Shortbread


  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried cranberries divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds divided
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. In 1/2 cup segments, add the flour until combined. Set aside 1/4 cup of almonds and 1/4 cup of cranberries for toppings.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead the cranberries and almonds into the dough. Flatten into a disc and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Once chilled, roll dough into 1/2″ thickness. Using a cookie cutter of your choice (if you’re at a loss for what to use, you can always use the top of a drinking glass), cut the dough and lay onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
  • Once cooled, you can make the icing. Mix the milk and powdered sugar together with a whisk until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thin, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. In a parchment bag or plastic bag with a small hole cut in a corner, drizzle the icing across the cookie. Mix the almonds and cranberries that you set aside earlier and sprinkle on top of the icing. Drizzle icing again over the toppings. Let solidify for 20 minutes, then enjoy.

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Kate Nelson

I’m a wife and mother to two daughters. I was a very, very geeky kid and spent my many years of youth reading science fiction and playing Dungeons & Dragons. I live in Austin with my family and love Star Wars. In here you find a whole lot of food recipes.

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