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Soft Cranberry Sugar Cookies

These cranberry cookies are from my grandmother's recipe, and they are simply perfect. The softness of the cookie and the slight crunch of the sugar coating make them a delicious classic for Christmas or any time of year.

Soft Cranberry Cookies
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Classic cranberry cookies

When I'm looking for ways to simplify in the kitchen, I often think about how my grandmothers used to cook. Neither of them would have been classified as amazing cooks, but they both had a few things they made really, really well.

Every time my Grandma Ealy came to visit during the holidays, she would bring a huge batch of her famous raisin sugar cookies, which managed to stay perfectly soft for days on end.

My Grams never failed to bake her thin, crisp sand tarts every year at Christmastime, and when we visited her house on Thanksgiving we could count on a pan of peas and mushrooms simmering on the stove, and thick pieces of peanut butter fudge for dessert.

I love to try out new recipes, but all the pressure to continually be changing and updating and impressing just gets to be way too much. When did it become lame make the same recipes again and again, even when they're delicious and everybody loves them?

Related recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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We feel obligated to scour magazines and the internet for the prettiest, newest, most show-stopping recipes, and then wonder why we're so much more stressed out than our grandmothers were.

This year, I'm going back to the basics... with just one itty-bitty twist. I made my Grandma's famous original cookie recipe, but instead of using raisins, I swapped in Craisins (any sweetened, dried cranberry will do) to turn them into cranberry cookies.

Related recipe: Apple Cranberry Crumble

Grandma's original cookie recipe

The secret to soft cookies

The secret ingredient? Using Crisco instead of oil or butter.

I know Crisco has gotten a bad rap over the years.

No, it's not the healthiest ingredient in the world. But guess what—these are COOKIES! They're not meant to be healthy. ;) I learned from my grandma that if you want really soft cookies, Crisco is the way to go.

I tried to "modernize" this recipe with a healthier substitution, but nope. The result was not as good.

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The other secret to this recipe is to simmer dried cranberries (Craisins) in water to rehydrate them. This gives them an amazing plump texture, while still allowing them to retain the sweetness you just can't get from fresh cranberries.

These cranberry cookies are not super decadent or overly sweet, but the sugar coating on the outside gives them a yummy little bit of crunch while keeping the inside really soft.

Ingredients

  • 10 oz craisins or other sweetened dried cranberry
  • 1 ½ cup sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2: Combine Craisins and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring once in a while to prevent sticking and burning. Remove and let cool.

Step 3: Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl.

Step 4: In a separate bowl, combine sugar, Crisco, eggs and vanilla, and mix until smooth.

Step 5: Add cooked Craisins and flour mixture alternately. Mix well.

Step 6: Shape into small balls (about 1 ½-inch big) and roll in sugar until the ball is thinly coated.

Step 7: Bake 10-15 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool a few minutes before removing from the pan and enjoying.

Can you freeze sugar cookies?

Yes!

This recipe freezes really, really well. I bake them first and then pop them into the freezer in freezer bags after they've cooled. This batch was baked about two weeks ago, and we're still enjoying them from the freezer (they thaw in mere minutes on the countertop).

Deliciously simple and soft cranberry sugar cookies.

If you're looking for a simple, back to basics cranberry cookie recipe for the holidays or any time of year, please try out my grandma's recipe. It might just become your family favorite, too!

Soft Cranberry Sugar Cookies

These cranberry cookies are super soft with a delicate crunch on the outside. You can't go wrong with my grandma's famous cookie recipe.
4.91 from 43 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 48 cookies
Calories: 116kcal
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. Craisins or other sweetened dried cranberry
  • 1 ½ cup sugar plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine Craisins and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove and let cool.
  • Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, combine sugar, Crisco, eggs and vanilla, and mix until smooth.
  • Add Craisins and flour mixture alternately.
  • Mix well.
  • Shape into small balls (about 1 1/2" big) and roll in sugar until the ball is thinly coated.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes until edges are slightly browned.

Notes

You can use raisins in place of Craisins if you prefer.

Nutrition

Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 14mg | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Recipe Rating




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Carol

Sunday 27th of March 2022

These cookies are amazing-Thank you for the recipe! Absolutely delicious!

Kate

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Thanks so much, Carol! Glad you enjoyed!

Debbie

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Delicious. I converted the recipe to gluten free. My family loved them. Reminded me of scones.

Alyssa

Tuesday 25th of January 2022

Thank you, Debbie!

Eva Hilts

Saturday 18th of December 2021

So soft and chewy. Store exceptionally well. But better than that, they are so easy to make. Oh yes and they are so delicious. I added grated orange rind. Yummy!

Michele

Monday 13th of December 2021

Thank you for sharing this recipe. They are delicious. I added some grated orange rind, because I like the cranberry and orange combo. I will definitely make these again.

Sandra C

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

These are wonderful as is. But I can never leave anything alone and had to play. I soaked the craisins in Amaretto for a couple of days. They were REALLY good that way!!!! I am taking some to my Bottle Shop guy for suggesting the soak versus the quick rehydrate.

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