Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread

I have been out of the loop for what seems like quite some time.  Life has been full of transitions, travels, and… I’m trying to think of another “t” word that would describe my life as of late but I can’t… maybe tasty?  Yes, we’ll go with that.

I’ve acquired a new job, taken a little jaunt around Europe, and eaten lots of delicious food over the past month or so but I have also been missing this space.  A place to come and share a thought, a story, or a weird habit.  A time to speak to no one.  A page for anyone to read.

I also missed the kitchen.  I missed beating butter and cracking eggs.  I missed the smell of ingredients blending together and wafting through the house when all was said and done.  And I missed telling you about what’s in my oven baking.  So lets just jump right into this…

Shortbread cookies remind me of girl scouts and my mom.  My mom always loved the girl scout shortbread cookies when I was little and I could never figure that out.  Did she know there were thin mints and tag-a-longs?  My little brain was baffled at the thought of a cookie involving chocolate being trumped by one that was just stamped with the girl scout symbol.

As with most cookies, these shortbreads start by beating butter and sugar together.  Lots of butter inhibits the formation of gluten and gives shortbread its crumbly texture.  Egg is added to act as a binder and vanilla for a touch of flavor!

This is really where things get good.  Cranberries, orange zest, and poppy seeds are mixed in to the dough.  The smell of orange and cranberry is quite refreshing and strangely alluring.  It took everything in me to not eat all of the dough right from the bowl.  Siren song!

After all the goodies are added the dough gets shaped into a log, wrapped in waxed paper, and chilled.  Then we’re on to slicing!  My favorite part.  A serrated knife slides easily through the dough making the process sort of relaxing.

The finished product is beautifully dotted with ruby, orange, and black.  The texture is crumbly and buttery and the fragrance alone will be leave you desiring a second (or third).

They even almost made me forget about the chocolate cookies I was going to bake next!  Almost.

Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread

Recipe from Joy the Baker Cookbook


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberry
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds


  1. In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until well incorporated, about another 2 minutes.  Scrape the sides of the bowl down when necessary.
  3. Add the flour mixture, orange zest, poppy seeds, and cranberries all at once.  Mix until just combined.
  4. Removed dough from bowl and divide in half.  Place each half on a sheet of waxed paper.  Shape into a log about 1 inch in diameter.  Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into 1/3 inch thick rounds.  Place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.  Remove from oven.  After 10 minutes transfer cookies to cool rack to cool completely.  Store well wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

~Makes about 3 dozen cookies.