Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies

Cardamom is the new cinnamon. That is what they say. Who is they? I have no idea but I agree, cardamom is an amazing spice. It’s highly fragrant, citrusy, minty, and herbal all at the same time. Scandinavians frequently use cardamom in baked goods, which is exactly what I did with these Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies!
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Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies- Gluten free and grain free option!

How to Make These Pretty Little Cookies:

These cookies are actually fairly simple: flour, butter, honey, sugar, salt, egg yolk and of course, cardamom. After making the dough you roll it into two logs and chill for two hours. Then slice, roll into balls, dip in chopped pistachios and bake.

Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies- Gluten free and grain free option!

How to Get The “Thumbprint”:

That thumbprint is achieved by removing the cookies from the oven 2/3 of the way through baking time and using the bottom of a wooden spoon, or whatever you have on hand to press that thumb like indentation into the cookie, just don’t use your actual thumb, that would hurt. I actually used the bottom of a cheese slicer. After making the thumbprints, return the cookies to the oven to finish baking. While cookies bake you make the cranberry filling!

Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies- Gluten free and grain free option!

The Filling:

The filling is made by cooking fresh cranberries in orange juice, orange zest and sugar. Then simply spoon the tart filling into the ‘thumbprint’. If you prefer, you can bake the cookies a day before serving, but add filling shortly before serving. I use a microplane to scrape the peel of oranges just until the white is exposed and then move to a new area.

The Recipe: Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies

Tips and what you will need: you will need the spice cardamom, a microplane for zesting citrus and a parchment covered cookie sheet. You can make these cookies gluten free by using your favorite gluten free flour.

13 votes


Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies





Yield 30 cookies

Cardamom is the new cinnamon. That is what they say. It is an amazing spice. It's highly fragrant, citrusy, minty, and herbal and the same time, and is perfection with the citrus and cranberry in this recipe. Note: you will be removing cookies about 2/3 through cooking time to make the thumbprint and then return cookies to the oven. If you prefer, you can make cookies a day in advance and keep in a sealed container, but add the filling to the cookies no more than an hour or two before serving. This cookie has a biscuity texture and that cranberry filling is swoon worthy!


The Cookies:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (you can use gluten free flour)

3/4 teaspoon cardamom

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract (I prefer paste)

1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup honey

zest of one orange

3/4 cup raw pistachios, chopped finely

The Filling:

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 cup fresh cranberries

zest of one orange

1/4 cup granulated sugar


Whisk flour, salt and cardamom in a bowl and set aside

Add soft butter and sugar to mixer and mix until well incorporated

Add vanilla, egg yolk, honey and zest of orange (see instructions above)

Add flour mixture in thirds mixing well between additions

Remove dough from mixer and separate evenly into two balls, then shape and roll each ball into a 9" log

Wrap each log in parchment paper, making sure it's as air tight as you can get it, place in a airtight glass container with lid and put in the fridge for two hours (or wrap in plastic, I just hate using plastic). If you only want to cook half a batch you can freeze dough for up to a month.

Chop pistachios

After dough has chilled for two hours, preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment

Remove one log at a time from the refrigerator, unwrap and slice into 15 rounds

Use both of your palms to roll each slice into a ball and dip one half of ball into chopped pistachios, repeat with all the dough and set cookies on cookie sheet with 2" space on all sides

Place in the oven and bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and use the round end of a wooden spoon (or what ever works to create the 'thumbprint' in each cookie). Return the cookies to the oven and bake for five more minutes.

When cookies are done remove from oven and just slide the parchment paper and cookies onto a cooling rack

While cookies cool, start cranberry filling:

Zest orange and set zest aside

Juice oranges and add 1/2 cup juice to a small sauce pan

Add cranberries and bring to a boil

Turn heat down to a simmer, add zest and sugar stirring frequently for 5 minutes

Turn off heat and allow to thicken

Use a small spoon to add cranberry filling to each thumbprint, serve warm or cool

You can make cookies a day ahead storing in an airtight container, but add filling no more than an hour or two before serving.

Courses dessert

Cuisine holiday


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24 thoughts on “Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint Cookies

  1. These cookies look amazing! I used to almost always add cinnamon to the cookies I make at home, but next time will add cardamom as I’m sure the taste will be wonderful!

  2. What gorgeous little cookies! I love the use of cardamon in them and I bet with the pistachios, cranberries and orange they taste pretty darn good!

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