Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies

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Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies2

I’m not much of a cookie-maker, especially during the December holidays, when I stay busy turning out batches of my Scottish Toffee for friends. Most Christmas cookies don’t seem up to snuff compared to this toffee, so I had stopped baking cookies for years now.

On the other hand, I have held onto this icebox cookie recipe featured in Gourmet about seven years ago, just because I liked the combo of pistachios and dried cranberries. How Christmas-y, a sugar cookie studded with red and green. And I do get awfully tired of making all that toffee…

My version of the cookie includes vanilla, orange juice, a bit more sugar and I subbed Meyer lemon zest for the orange zest called for in the original recipe.

I made a batch of these for Larry to drop off at our neighborhood fire station today. It was a team of firefighters and paramedics from our Station 8 who saved Larry’s life, almost three years ago, when he suffered a heart attack. We try to say “thank you” throughout the year as our gratitude to those brave men and women knows no bounds. I hope they will enjoy the cookies, along with a generous Starbucks card for the whole gang.

Merry Christmas to all my readers who celebrate on the 25th – Season’s Greetings to everyone.

TIP: You can make up the dough bars ahead of time, cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

TIP: I sprinkled a little more decorating sugar on the baked cookies for a bit of sparkle.

Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
A simple sugar cookie studded with red cranberries and green pistachios, perfect for the holiday.
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup coarse decorating sugar
  1. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Using either a standing or handheld mixer, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, orange juice and zest over medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the flour mixture, beating only until the dough begins to come together into clumps.
  4. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries by hand.
  5. Gather and press the dough together, then divide into 2 pieces. Using a piece of plastic wrap, form each piece into a log about 1½ inches thick. Square off the sides of each log to form a bar.
  6. Cover each bar with plastic wrap and chill in fridge at least 2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Brush the sides of each bar with the beaten egg. Sprinkle decorating sugar on another piece of parchment, then press each side of both bars into the sugar.
  10. Slice the dough into ⅓ inch-sized cookies and arrange on lined baking sheets about ½ inch apart.
  11. Bake until edges of cookies turn pale gold, 12-15 minutes, rotating baking sheets once during the baking process.
  12. Cool on racks before serving or storing - if you can wait that long.


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15 Responses to Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies

  1. Carol Sacks December 20, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    These are beautiful and such an elegant treat for the holidays. Best wishes to you and Larry!

    • Liz December 20, 2013 at 10:08 am #

      Thanks, Carol – enjoy a lovely holiday season – hoping to cross paths in 2014.

  2. Jayne December 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Great recipe Liz, I love these! Delicious combination of cranberries and pistachios, I bet these get eaten very quickly. I hope you have a lovely Christmas!

    • Liz December 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

      We took the whole batch to the local fire station – but Larry ate one and pronounced them worth another batch – Happy Christmas, Jayne!

  3. Lynda - TasteFood December 20, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    These are so festive – I love their simplicity, and the tasty combination of pistachios and cranberries. Happy holidays!

    • Liz December 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Lynda, Happy Christmas to you and your family – thank you for your support this past year. X0

  4. Wendy Read December 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Gorgeous picture Liz, I am so happy that everyone loved them a the fire station. I wish you and Larry the most wonderful and peaceful holidays. Much Love to you.

    • Liz December 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

      Wendy, I miss you – let’s not let 2014 go by without a get-together. I will email you the food/blog/stuff I am up to – X0

  5. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence December 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Yum!! These look delicious. When I’m not making chocolate chip cookies, I usually go for this style of cookie. I love that you can make it in advance!

    • Liz December 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      I felt like a teen-ager, not having baked cookies for the holidays in so many years – best to you and your husband, Liz

  6. sippitysup December 26, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    That’s one lucky firehouse. GREG

  7. Véro @ French Cooking for Dummies January 2, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    These look sooo good!!! Cranberries and pistachios sound like a great combination, I’ll have to try 😉 Happy new year!

    • Liz January 3, 2014 at 8:20 am #

      I hope you enjoy them –

  8. Oui, Chef January 4, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Liz, love the colors and flavors in these cookies, and also LOVE the fact that you incorporated your beloved Meyer lemons too! Happy New Year to you and your family!

    • Liz January 4, 2014 at 10:21 am #

      Happy New Year, Steve, and I wish I could get some of our Meyers to you – the tree is loaded and the new, second one is growing.

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