Brown Butter Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies
If you’re like me, you spent your teens in front of the tv with a tube of refrigerated cookie dough and a spoon (yes, for real!) That ready to eat dough, with those rock hard chocolate morsels was just too tempting to pass up. But as a grown up and bake shop owner, I’ve learned there are many better homemade versions out there, and friends, I haven’t even scratched the surface with all of the flavor possibilities! Take these, Brown Butter Cranberry Pistachio Icebox Cookies for instance. This is a knockout shortbread recipe that’s made even better with the addition of brown butter (*gasp!* this is honestly one of the best smells in the world) and the winning combination of pistachios and cranberries.
Each holiday at the bakery, I would slice and bake hundreds of these butter rich cookies for dessert trays. They’re a bakers dream and a real time saver. The dough can be made ahead of time, formed into a log and sliced and baked as needed. The cookies can even be baked well ahead of time and frozen, with absolutely no compromise to taste! Cranberries and pistachios were always one of the most requested flavours at the bakery and are still a number one holiday request with my own family to this day!
Aside from adorning your holiday dessert table, wouldn’t these make the most thoughtful holiday gift? A decorated cookie tin or some creative cellophane wrapping and a beautiful ribbon is all the packaging an edible treat like this needs. And this is a great recipe to get the kids involved in the kitchen too, as a way of perhaps sweetening up a special adult in their life (*ahem* teachers would way prefer these over apples. Just sayin.)
This might be the perfect time to kick off your holiday baking! This recipe is easily doubled (divide the dough in half and make 2 flavours!), so get the kids in the kitchen and start creating! Happy holiday cookie baking friends!
Brown Butter Cranberry and Pistachio Icebox Cookies
- 1/2 cup brown butter, instructions below
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sifted icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup shelled and roughly chopped salted pistachios
- To brown the butter, place 1/2 cup of cubed butter in a glass pie plate. Cover with a plate to catch any spatters, and microwave for 6-8 minutes. The butter will bubble furiously for a few minutes as all water evaporates out and the milk protein solids begin to brown. Keep an eye, as it can burn quickly. Add more time in 30 second increments if needed. Transfer browned butter to a container (so it doesn’t keep cooking) and allow to come to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add the cooled brown butter and continue beating for a few minutes. Add the confectioners sugar and beat again until fully combined and smooth again. Add the salt, yolks and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour and mix just until combined. Add the cranberries and pistachios and stir just until combined.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter that has been lightly dusted with confectioners sugar. Roll the dough into a sausage about 2 1/2- 3 inches in diameter. For smaller sizes, roll into a smaller log.
- Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight (you can also freeze it for 30 minutes). Once chilled, unwrap the log and slice it into rounds approx. 1/2 inch thick. Place cookies about 1 inch apart, on a sheet lined with parchment, and bake at 350 for 14 minutes. Allow cookies to rest for 2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
- These cookies freeze exceptionally.
- Eggs are not typically added to shortbread cookies. I like to add them for extra richness. If you’re going to double this recipe, 3 yolks is more than enough.
- Both the dough and cookies freeze exceptionally.