Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies

Amidst the sawing and banging that is going on in my home right now which escalated to an unbelievable level yesterday, my kitchen — usually the most “used” looking room in the house — was an oasis of calm.

Okay, so maybe not.  But it was under control and I was able to hide there and know that all the chaos would be worth it once the work is done.

The nice thing about having so many guys in the house working is that I can leave a plate of cookies for them, and in a matter of minutes, they’re gone.  Yesterday’s Mocha Toffee Bars were a big hit!

Welcome to Day Two of The 12 Days of Cookies whereby Kelly takes on Gourmet’s selection of best cookies from the past seven decades.  Today’s cookie is quite the festive looking morsel if you’re one who associates red and green with the season.  If you’re not, then you’re most likely going to consider that the combination of pistachios and cranberries in a sweet, tender bite is healthy.  But there is that sugar around the edges….and the butter.

Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies are one of Gourmet’s picks from 2006.  And since I’ve got tons of pistachios and cranberries right now, this cookie was a no-brainer.  Besides, I’m an icebox cookie kind of person considering that you can make the dough and pop it in the fridge to deal with later while you pay attention to a more fussy cookie.

The only issue is — a “log” isn’t shaped like a right prism which is what Gourmet’s photo depicted.  And me being me, well, I had to skip the log, loving the square cookies.

A log is easier to roll.  Trust me.

Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookies

1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 sticks butter, unsalted
1/4 c. plus 2 T sugar
1/2 tsp. orange zest
1/2 c. pistachios, shelled
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1 lg. egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c/ decorative sugar

*Cookie dough will need to be chilled for at least 2 hours before baking*

Sift the flour, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl together.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar, and orange zest on medium speed until it’s pale in color and fluffy — about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in thirds, mixing until dough just comes together in clumps.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and with a spatula, stir in the cranberries and pistachios.

Gather the dough and press into a ball, then divide in half.  Using a piece of plastic wrap, form each half into a log about 1 to 1-1/2″ in diameter.  At this point, you can shape the log however you wish by gently pressing the dough through the plastic.

Once you’ve achieved the desired shape, tightly wrap the dough and place in the fridge for up to 3 days, or if wrapped in foil as well, freeze for up to 1 month.

To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the egg in a small bowl and brush it on all surfaces except the small ends.  Sprinkle decorative sugar liberally on each side, then cut into 1/4″ slices and place on parchment lined baking sheets about 1/2″ apart.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges just begin to turn golden.  Cool on the baking pans before removing to a rack.


  • Refrigerator cookies are great because they’re usually quite easy to make and store.  They’re quick to slice if they’re well chilled which helps to retain whatever shape you’ve chosen.
  • Make sure your knife is sharp as the pistachios are a bit tough to cut through and will mess up the shape of the cookie when you cut through them.
  • Work with one log at a time when applying the egg so that the other log stays chilled.  Decorative sugar can be poured into a dish and the log rolled in it, but I think the shaking is easier.
  • The original baking time was listed as 15-18 minutes, so keep an eye on the cookies depending on your oven’s accuracy.  The last few cookies I cut were less chilled and they spread out quite a bit more and had edges that were crispy.  The taste and texture was nice, but the shape was essentially gone and the sugar edges not so pretty.
  • These are delicious, with a perfect crunch from the nuts, and tartness from the cranberries.  Don’t skimp on the orange zest, and the flavor is fairly pronounced and is very nice.  I could eat lots of these, unfortunately.

Don’t forget to visit the rest of our cookie crew testing Gourmet’s favorite cookies:  Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, Ben of What’s Cooking? and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants.  I’m sure they’ve got something delicious just waiting for you!