Cranberry-Orange Spice Cookies

Barbara E.

Tart cranberry and zesty orange perfectly complement this soft spice cookie. Toasted brown butter and combination of warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves will make this recipe a family favorite. This recipe came in 2nd place in our 2018 Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest.
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35 min Prep Time
15 min Cook Time
  • Prep Time: 35 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Servings: 4 dozen cookies

Servings: 4 dozen cookies


  • Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup candied orange peel, finely chopped
  • Frosting:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Step 1

Preheat oven to 325?F.

Step 2

Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg, extract and sour cream; beat until well blended.

Step 3

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, ginger, cloves and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in two additions; beat until incorporated.

Step 4

Combine cranberries and orange peel in a small bowl; set aside 1/4 cup of the mixture for topping. Stir remaining cranberries and orange peel into dough. Cover and refrigerate at least 45 minutes.

Step 5

Form chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until cookies are light golden around edges. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets 1 minute then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Step 6

For the frosting, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking until the butter bubbles, foams and turns amber in color and smells nutty. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Let butter cool 5 minutes. Stir in confectioner’s sugar. Add 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla; beat until smooth, adding more milk if necessary for a soft frosting.

Step 7

Spread frosting over cookies and top each with a pinch of reserved cranberry/orange peel mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.