Cranberry Sandwich Cookies

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 1 hr 10 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: about 20 cookies
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Ingredients

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus 2 tablespoons at room temperature

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

1 large egg

1 tablespoon cranberry juice cocktail

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

8 drops red gel food coloring

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Pulse the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup dried cranberries in a food processor until finely ground. Add the flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse to combine. Add the cut-up butter and shortening; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Whisk the egg, cranberry juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the food coloring in a small bowl; add to the food processor and pulse to form a dough. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 1 1/2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are just set, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the cream cheese, room-temperature butter and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar; beat on low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, 2 more minutes. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup dried cranberries; stir into the filling along with a pinch of salt. Sandwich between the cookies.

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