Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies

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Celebrate the arrival of spring with these delightful Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies! They’re simple to prepare and perfect for an Easter brunch or a relaxing picnic in the park.

Slice-and-bake cookies are incredibly easy to whip up. And they’re a lifesaver for unexpected guests or those late-night cravings when you need something sweet!

Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.

Icebox cookies, also known as refrigerator cookies, have a charming history that dates back to the early 20th century. These cookies gained popularity during a time when home refrigeration became more common. The name “icebox” originated from the practice of storing cookie dough in iceboxes, the precursor to modern refrigerators, to keep it fresh for baking later.

Icebox cookies were particularly favored for their convenience. Home bakers could prepare the dough in advance, shape it into logs, and refrigerate or freeze it until needed. Then, whenever fresh cookies were desired, they could simply slice off portions of the chilled dough and bake them, resulting in freshly baked treats with minimal effort.

This make-ahead method also allowed for variations in flavor and appearance, as the dough could be divided and flavored differently before chilling. Over time, icebox cookies became a beloved staple in home baking, cherished for their versatility, ease of preparation, and delicious results. Today, these timeless cookies continue to be enjoyed in households around the world, offering a delightful taste of nostalgia with every slice.

Why is Refrigerating Cookie Dough Necessary?

We actually prefer to chill almost all of our cookie dough recipes. At least a couple of hours and usually overnight, it was the standard custom in our bakery, for a couple of reasons.

  1. It allows the butter in the mix to firm back up, keeping the cookies from spreading too much during baking, so they maintain their shape and don’t overcook.
  2. In addition, it enables the flavors to marry! This is purely a long-standing tradition and one I’ll always follow. If you can’t wait overnight give the dough at least a couple of hours to set.

How to Layer Icebox Cookies

I’ll guide you through each step of the process here, and you’ll find the same instructions in the recipe below. Don’t let the number of steps deter you from making these. I like to provide thorough explanations, especially when it comes to baking. These Ice Box Cookies are actually really easy to make!

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and Pink Himalayan sea salt in a bowl, stir until combined set aside. 
Flour, baking powder and pink Himalayan sea salt being mixed for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Then add in the egg, vanilla, and milk and beat until combined.
Dough being mixed with egg and vanilla extract for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Add the flour in 2 batches, mixing thoroughly after each addition. 
Dough for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  •  After all of the flour is blended in, transfer 1 cup of the dough to a small bowl; stir in the orange zest and set aside. 
Dough with orange zest for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
Dough mixed with orange zest for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Add the cranberries, pan roasted pecans, and red gel food coloring to the remaining dough (that you removed 1 cup from for the orange zest).  Mix by hand until fully incorporated. 
raw cookie dough with pecans, dried cranberries and a dot of pink food coloring for layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Add the white chocolate chips and fold in by hand with a flat bottomed wooden spatula, mix until blended. Then divide this pink dough in half to create the layers.
Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Line an 8×4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, press one half of cranberry dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.
Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.

Top with orange dough.

Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Finally spread the remaining cranberry dough on the top. Tear a piece of plastic wrap and smooth over the top while gently pressing the dough down. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled. We let ours sit overnight. 
Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.

Remove dough from pan; cut in half lengthwise, cut each portion into 1/4-in. slices.

Photo of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookie dough sliced on parchment paper.
  • Place 1 in. apart on parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 375°F/190°C for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

Storing Ice Box Cookies: Preserving Freshness for Later

To store ice box cookies:

  1. Cooling: Allow the ice box cookies to cool completely after baking before storing them.

  2. Wrapping: Wrap the cooled cookies tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out and to maintain their freshness.

  3. Airtight Container: Alternatively, you can store the wrapped cookies in an airtight container with a lid.

  4. Refrigeration: Store the wrapped cookies in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks. This helps to prolong their shelf life and keeps them firm.

  5. Freezing: If you want to store the cookies for longer periods, they can be frozen. Place the wrapped cookies in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the cookies in the refrigerator before serving.

By following these storage guidelines, you can keep your ice box cookies fresh and delicious for extended periods.

Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookie dough on baking sheet.

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Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.

How to Make Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies

Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.

Orange Cranberry Cookies

Simple Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies are the perfect treat to welcome spring! Easy to make and ideal for an Easter Brunch or a picnic in the park. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 dozen approx.
Author: Mean Green Chef

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup (217 grams) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons milk, whole or 2%
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (approx 1 medium sized orange)
  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) pan roasted pecans, chopped
  • red gel food color (a little goes a long way, start w a small drop)
  • 1 cup (170 grams) white chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and Pink Himalayan sea salt in a bowl, mix and set aside.  
    Flour, baking powder and pink Himalayan sea salt being mixed for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Then add in the egg, vanilla, and milk and beat until combined.
    Dough being mixed with egg and vanilla extract for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Add the flour in 2 batches, mixing thoroughly after each addition. 
    Dough for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the dough to a small bowl; stir in orange zest and set aside. 
    Dough with orange zest for Orange Cranberry Cookies.
  • Add the cranberries, pan roasted pecans, and red gel food coloring to the remaining dough (that you removed 1 cup from for the orange zest). 
    raw cookie dough with pecans, dried cranberries and a dot of pink food coloring for layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Add the white chocolate chips and fold in by hand with a flat bottomed wooden spatula, mix until blended. Then divide this pink dough in half to create the layers.
    Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Line an 8x4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, press one half of cranberry dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.
    Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Top with orange dough.
    Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Finally spread the remaining cranberry dough on the top. Tear a piece of plastic wrap and smooth over the top while gently pressing the dough down. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled. We let ours sit overnight. 
    Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies.
  • Remove dough from pan; cut in half lengthwise. 
    Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookie dough sliced in half on parchment paper.
  • Cut each portion into 1/4-in. slices. Place 1 in. apart on parchment lined sheet pan. Bake at 375°F/190°C for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. 
    Overhead shot of layered Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookie dough on baking sheet.

Notes

  • Prep time is approximate.
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place up to 7 days. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Meyer Lemon Cookies: Indulge in the bright and zesty flavors of Meyer lemon with these delightful cookies! Perfectly tangy and sweet, they’re a refreshing treat for any occasion

Almond Pastry Cookies: Crisp, buttery, and delicately almond-flavored, these delightful cookies are perfect for any occasion. Enjoy the irresistible aroma and flavor of almonds in every bite!

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    Join the Conversation

    1. Baguio Restaurants by Mae says:

      This recipe looks delicious, it also looks like an ice cream. I agree that this is perfect for late night snacks or for movie night. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

      1. Thanks so much for stopping by Mae, so glad that you like our recipe. This is a really fun and easy cookie to make! 🙂

    2. Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. Have a great week!

      1. Thanks for hosting Helen! 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for stopping by to check out our Orange Cranberry Icebox Cookies 🙂

    3. These are so pretty, Angela and they sound delicious too! I’ve just shared this post on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page. Thank you so much for bringing this delicious recipe to the Hearth and Soul Link Party!

      1. Thanks so much, April! We appreciate the share and being a part of Hearth and Soul, so glad that you like our Icebox cookies! 🙂

    4. These cookies are a gorgeous color! I need to try these! 🙂

      1. Thanks so much, Erika! They’re a fun and easy cookie to make 🙂

    5. Omg, these look incredible.

      1. Thanks, Stephanie! 🙂

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