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Orange Cranberry Holiday Thumbprint 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!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy dessert recipe, holiday recipe, kid-friendly recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 30 cookies
Author Linda Spiker


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


  1. Whisk flour, salt and cardamom in a bowl and set aside
  2. Add soft butter and sugar to mixer and mix until well incorporated
  3. Add vanilla, egg yolk, honey and zest of orange (see instructions above)
  4. Add flour mixture in thirds mixing well between additions
  5. Remove dough from mixer and separate evenly into two balls, then shape and roll each ball into a 9" log
  6. 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.
  7. Chop pistachios
  8. After dough has chilled for two hours, preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment
  9. Remove one log at a time from the refrigerator, unwrap and slice into 15 rounds
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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:

  1. Zest orange and set zest aside
  2. Juice oranges and add 1/2 cup juice to a small sauce pan
  3. Add cranberries and bring to a boil
  4. Turn heat down to a simmer, add zest and sugar stirring frequently for 5 minutes
  5. Turn off heat and allow to thicken
  6. Use a small spoon to add cranberry filling to each thumbprint, serve warm or cool
  7. You can make cookies a day ahead storing in an airtight container, but add filling no more than an hour or two before serving.