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Cranberry noels

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Cranberry noels

I crave no fancy cookies for Christmas – just give me a simple shortbread cookie and I’ll be happy. It’s all about simple cookies that taste good and bring back the childhood memories. I started last week with simple almond shortbread cookies, and these Christmas cranberry noels from Martha Stewart are also simple to make and so good to taste: a crunchy texture paired with the chewiness of the cranberries – all in one cookie! The recipe uses the basic icebox cookie dough with the addition of dried cranberries. The cranberries are chopped in a food processor, and I omitted pecans from the original recipe. Then, after the cookie dough shaped as logs have been in the freezer/refrigerator, the cookie dough logs are rolled in decorative red sanding sugar to make cookies even more festive. Look at this beautiful log of raw cookie dough – I could eat it just like that:

log sliced

The freezing of the dough for about 40 minutes and then refrigerating it for 30 minutes makes the dough stiffer which, in turn, makes it easier to slice the cookie dough in round shapes. You could also use cookie cutters like the star on my photo by letting the cookie dough soften a bit to room temperature. I did this to one of my cookie dough logs – left it on the counter to soften to reach room temperature so that I could roll it to the desired size of cookie cutters.

Cranberry noels


This raw cookie dough wrapped in plastic can be stored in the freezer for a couple of months, and once baked, the cookies keep well at room temperature in an air-tight container for a month.

Cranberry noels, holiday, Christmas

Cranberry noels, icebox cookies

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart.

Prep time: 35 min


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • red sending sugar (for decorating)

1) In a large bowl, using mixer, cream butter, sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add milk and vanilla, beat to combine.

2) With mixer on low, gradually add flour and salt, continue beating until dough forms.

3) Chop dried cranberries in a food processor into smaller bits. Add chopped cranberries to the dough, mix with the spatula to combine.

4) Divide dough into 2 portions. Shape each portion into a log. I shaped each portion into different sized logs: small and big for smaller and bigger cookies. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, put in the freezer for 30 minutes, then in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5) Preheat oven to 350. Place red decorating sugar on a plate. Roll each cookie log in red decorating sugar, pressing sugar to the dough to stick. Using sharp knife cut each log into thin slices, about1/4 inch thick. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until edges just start turning brown, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, place cookies to cool on wire rack.


Mixing batter ingredients

mixing chopped cranberries in

Mixing chopped cranberries in


Rolling cookie dough logs of different sizes (for bigger and smaller cookies)


Cookie dough logs


Rolling the edges of cookie dough log in red sanding sugar

on a sheet

placing cookie dough slices on a baking sheet

Cranberry noels



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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Monique December 8, 2012, 5:03 pm

    Julia..I just just made a similar recipe and have prepared a little post:-)
    These stars are so cute..I like working with stars:-)

    • Julia December 9, 2012, 1:54 pm

      I rarely use cookie cutter but I should – they are so pretty … Maybe next year.

  • Ana Ciolacu December 9, 2012, 12:56 pm

    I just discovered it, but i looove your blog. Is so colorful… <3
    And these cookies are amazing. They are on my "to do" list now. 🙂
    Hugs, Ana.

    • Julia December 9, 2012, 1:56 pm

      Thank you! Your blog has breathtaking photography.

  • Hannah December 9, 2012, 6:43 pm

    “Unfancy” and yet still stunning- That red sugar really sets them apart from the pack! They would make a lovely addition to any cookie platter.

    • Julia December 12, 2012, 3:22 pm

      Thank you. 🙂

  • cquek December 10, 2012, 6:22 am

    Looks like a good selection of dishes you tried out.

  • Paola @gnom-gnom December 10, 2012, 11:22 am

    I am fairly certain that I am currently having a love affair with cranberries- so these are right up my alley! I might give them a go using fresh cranberries though… I love their tartness against the sweetness of dough!

    • Julia December 12, 2012, 3:28 pm

      I love tart fruits myself and would love to make these with tart fresh cranberries or even tart cherries (if I can ever find them). 🙂

  • Jackie @ Domestic Fits December 10, 2012, 1:53 pm

    A nice shortbread is a thing of beauty, isn’t it? Lots of butter, no eggs, and not over-baked. This looks perfect!

    • Julia December 12, 2012, 3:34 pm

      Thank you, Jackie.

  • Monica Lazar December 10, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Those cookies look amazing ♥ and your photos are so beautiful!! 🙂

    • Julia December 12, 2012, 3:42 pm

      Thank you, Monica.

  • Marina | Let the Baking Begin! December 9, 2013, 12:06 pm

    Your cookies are so cute!

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