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Cranberry Noels

Basic icebox dough gets a festive makeover when dotted with dried fruit and pecans.

  • yield: Makes about 5 dozen

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter room, temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Cook's Note

Once formed into logs and wrapped well in plastic, the dough can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. Before slicing, leave the dough at room temperature until it just begins to soften. For a festive variation, roll the edges in colored sanding sugar before baking.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add milk and vanilla. Beat until just combined. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, salt, cranberries, and pecans; continue beating until fully combined.

  2. Step 2

    Turn dough out onto a clean work surface, and divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into an 8-inch log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

  3. Step 3

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, 14 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Remove from oven, and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Reviews (53)

  • 15 Dec, 2013

    This is my go to Christmas cookie recipe! I do make a few minor changes though-I add fresh orange zest to the dough, and I dip half the cookie in melted white chocolate after it has cooled. Tried the red sugar and thought it gave a lovely, sophisticated cookie a cheap look.

  • 29 Dec, 2012

    These cookies are the best! I didn't have any problem with sticky dough. I did leave them in the freezer overnight, and they sliced easily. They are delicate, delicious and they are going to the top of my favorite cookie list!

  • 21 Dec, 2011

    Made these yesterday, dough was very very sticky even though it was refrigorated, taste was fine!

  • 21 Dec, 2011

    Made these yesterday, dough was very very sticky even though it was refrigorated, taste was fine!

  • 12 Dec, 2011

    Loved these! I used red sanding sugar as suggested and they looked so pretty and festive :) I liked the crunchy texture paired with the chewy goodness of the cranberries. Will definitely use again :)

  • 8 Dec, 2011

    I made these for xmas 2010 as gifts and they were a huge hit, will definitely be making them again this year. Yummy!

  • 2 Jan, 2011

    Wonderful cookies! Took the advice of previous contributor's comments, and reduced the oven temp, and also rolled the logs in red sanding sugar. Beautiful and tasty for the holidays.

  • 30 Dec, 2010

    I love to bake cookies for Christmas and I believe I have found a new favorite! Easy to make and so delicious. I did add a bit more nuts than stated in recipe and chopped the dried cranberries. Just scrumptious...thanks M.

  • 23 Dec, 2010

    I thought these were a bit boring and adding the colored sanding sugar didn't help them visually or improve their taste. I rolled the edges in melted white chocolate after baking. Then they were fabulous:) They looked like they were edged in snow and were a big hit at our annual cookie exchange. Thanks for another fabulous recipe Martha!!!!!! :)

  • 21 Dec, 2010

    This is one of my favorite go-to holiday cookies. For a colorful, tasty variation, I add orange extract and grated peel instead of vanilla.

  • 20 Dec, 2010

    These are so delicious and very easy to make. I have made them 4 or 5 times and will keep to make for my Christmas cookie assortment. Very tasty. I roll into the 2 logs as stated in recipe, then I take the logs and press a bit and make the log into a square shape. Chill, then cut and bake as stated. If you have not tried this recipe, I recommend it highly. The cranberries and pecans give them a wonderful taste.

  • 19 Dec, 2010

    These are the best ever..I have been making them for years... LOVE that is it so easy!!

  • 18 Dec, 2010

    hello!can we put chocolate chips intead of cranberies?

  • 12 Dec, 2010

    I'm no cook and these were easy and delicious. I rolled the logs in red sprinkles before slicing to make them more festive for Christmas. This recipe will make at least 4 dozen cookies. I agree that 12 minutes is enough cooking time unless you want them really crispy.

  • 11 Dec, 2010

    To make cut cookies, I divide the dough in 1/2 and put each 1/2 between two pieces of plastic wrap. Roll the dough to desired thickness (approximately 1/4 "). Refrigerate dough as per directions. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter. Bake per directions. Scraps can be made into discs and refrigerated again, then cut into shapes repeating the process until dough is utiliezed.

  • 7 Dec, 2010

    I meant to say - desired shape (christmas tree)..

  • 7 Dec, 2010

    When do you cut it to the desired shape (as displayed on this site). Is it before or after refrigerating it?

  • 6 Dec, 2010

    If my math is correct, it should make about 64 cookies. Two 8" logs cut into 1/4" slices, right? I'm prepping for mine right now. I cut the cranberries and pecans into tiny pieces to make it easier to roll out and cut with cookie cutters.

  • 3 Dec, 2010

    These were excellent! I stuck with the log roll / circle slices and they came out scrumptious.

  • 2 Dec, 2010

    How many cookies does this recipe make? It's not listed anywhere

  • 27 Jan, 2010

    Wonderful cookies! Hard to eat just a few; everyone loves these cookies! One hint; double the recipe you won't be sorry!

  • 22 Dec, 2009

    Virginiarogers- I have made them with cookie cutters. Keep the dough really cold so it doesn't stick to the rolling pin, and when you cut them out, you may have to use a knife to cut stray cranberries. It wasn't too hard, but this year I'm just going to cut rounds from the logs.

  • 21 Dec, 2009

    These cookies are seriously perfect. Savory, buttery, tart sweetness! The bake time is too long. My cookies only take about 12mins. Very Good!!!

  • 19 Dec, 2009

    Has anybody made these with cookie cutters? Any advice?

  • 11 Dec, 2009

    yummy, i love that i have a batch ready to go in the freezer for when my first round of cookies is gone. Super easy..i didn't add the nuts.

  • 4 Dec, 2009

    I just baked these for a cookie exchange and they are WONDERFUL! Such a simple recipe, with no odd ingredients that were difficult to find in stores. I agree with other reviewers that 350 for 14 minutes is plenty. Definitely a keeper!

  • 16 Jan, 2009

    These are yummy, but I had the same problem with this recipe that I do with most of Martha's cookie recipes: When I'm finished mixing the dough, it's all crumbly and quite hard to roll out until it's warmed up a bit. Does anyone have suggestions?

  • 2 Jan, 2009

    These are so delicious and easy, I gave them to family and friends for the holidays, and keep on wanting to bake more! Thank you for a new favorite.

  • 30 Dec, 2008

    I tried it with dried cherries instead and they were awsome!!.

  • 29 Dec, 2008

    I gave these as a gift and they were a big hit! Buttery and not too sweet. I really liked the addition of roasted, salted chopped pecans.

  • 26 Dec, 2008

    Agree with all the comments! everybody liked them.

  • 24 Dec, 2008

    These are delicious! Not too sweet - just right like cranberry pecan shortbread! Yum!

  • 24 Dec, 2008

    Great cookies! Flakey, buttery, just like a bakery cookie. 350 degrees for 14 minutes is enough. it's a keeper!

  • 23 Dec, 2008

    These cookies are fantastic! I had to substitute walnuts for the pecans, used a tree cookie cutter, and lightly sprinkled the tops with sugar for a sparkly finish. Based on other users' comments, I reduced the heat to 350 and baked them for 14 minutes. The corners were lightly browned, but the cookie has the crispy yet tender consistency of shortbread. They are cute and festive looking, easy, and tasty. A simple yet different addition to our holiday cookie vault.

  • 22 Dec, 2008

    These cookies were a hit yesterday!! I used dried cherries and walnuts. :) I also think the 375* temp is a bit high for the 14 minutes. I haven't made a second batch though to see what would happen at a lower temp. :)

  • 22 Dec, 2008

    Great recipe! My son and I added about 1/2 tsp grated orange rind and used cream instead of milk to the batter when we added the vanilla.

  • 22 Dec, 2008

    ohh my was this an easy recipe. I made them with flavoured craisens, orange and plain. They are a big hit. Even my hubbie who LOVES shortbread likes them.

  • 21 Dec, 2008

    I had no problem with the recipe. I did add grated orange rind and I soaked the dried cranberries in orange juice for awhile before draining them and adding them to the mixing bowl. I think it made 4 dozen. Really pretty when you slice 'em.

  • 21 Dec, 2008

    These were very easy to make and came out just as they look in the picture. I like a cookie that isn't too sweet.

  • 21 Dec, 2008

    I might try a little bit more milk. When cookies crumble, sometimes it is because it needs more moisture to keep them together! Fourteen minutes does seem to be a little long for cookies that 1/4 of an inch or less, the normal time is around twelve minutes for 1/4 of an inch. I hope I was somewhat helpful!

  • 20 Dec, 2008

    okay, the cookie was easy to make, the dough tasted wonderful but I was VERY disappointed....375???? too hot, or 14 minutes too long, all I got was Crow Food, not even good enough for my Blanche, she loves cookies especially cranberry cookies and she isn't getting any.

    What went wrong?

  • 20 Dec, 2008

    I thought of orange too. Craisins come in an orange variety that I was thinking of trying. Wondering about the vanilla for that then. Perhaps some fresh lemon juice instead? I may divide this dough and try different flavors for each. One for sure will be using candied pecans and finely chopped dates. Lots of possibilities here.

  • 20 Dec, 2008

    I've made these with the addition of 1 tsp of grated orange peel and they're delicious! For a variation on flavor, use pistachios, cranberries and grated lemon peel. For a final touch, I make royal icing, use a zipper bag, cut off a corner of the bag (small cut) and drizzle royal icing over the tops of the cookies and wait for it to harden before packing (just a few hours). Makes for a pretty tray of cookies or a wonderful holiday gift!

  • 20 Dec, 2008

    I bet these would be fantastic with a little grated orange peel added to the mix for a variation..

  • 18 Dec, 2008

    These are splendid cookies! Very easy to make and there is a great balance of sweetness the tartness between the cookie and the cranberries. Pecans make a nice crunch, as well. Tip: After cutting the cookies (if making rounds from a log), flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and roll the edges of the cookie to make them look a little less-cut and more naturally shaped.

  • 18 Dec, 2008

    These are splendid cookies! Very easy to make and there is a great balance of sweetness the tartness between the cookie and the cranberries. Pecans make a nice crunch, as well. Tip: After cutting the cookies (if making rounds from a log), flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and roll the edges of the cookie to make them look a little less-cut and more naturally shaped.

  • 18 Dec, 2008

    These are splendid cookies! Very easy to make and there is a great balance of sweetness the tartness between the cookie and the cranberries. Pecans make a nice crunch, as well. Tip: After cutting the cookies (if making rounds from a log), flatten slightly with the palm of your hand and roll the edges of the cookie to make them look a little less-cut and more naturally shaped.

  • 16 Dec, 2008

    I have made this several times and my family loves them. I use the variation shown on the TV show, where the logs of dough were brushed with melted butter and rolled in dessicated coconut before chilling.

  • 12 Dec, 2008

    I have made these for several Christmas seasons. Everone loves these, and I will continue to make these every Christmas (other times too). These cookies make a great gift, delightfully buttery, nutty flavor with a hint of tartness--perfection.

  • 10 Dec, 2008

    I made these a couple days ago and they were just ok. I am making a fresh batch now though, and they are spectacular! I only used 2 1/4 cups of flour this time and it really helped. Could be because I'm at a high elevation. I don't usually need to alter recipes but apparently this is one that needed it.

    I cut them fairly generously, I get about 30 cookies out of a batch.

  • 8 Dec, 2008

    Can anyone tell me when to cut a shape with the dough? I prefer to make the Christmas tree shape with this cookie.
    Do I still cut the 1/4" thick slice then use a cookie cutter?
    Thank you! :)

  • 8 Dec, 2008

    how many cookies does one batch make?

  • 5 Dec, 2008

    These are simple, but amazing. They have become my holiday signature for the past few years. They are delicious and festive looking, especially rolled in colored sugar.