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Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies
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The following recipe and photography was provided by recipe developer and food photographer, Ashley Durand of Plate & Pen.

Leave your mark on the holiday season with these festive and fruity thumbprint cookies!

Desserts are one of my favorite things about the holidays, and whether you’re bringing these cookies to a party, leaving them out for Santa or simply baking them to enjoy at home, they’re bound to be a hit with anyone who takes a bite.

Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

To make these cookies taste like the holidays, I filled the thumbprint in the center with an easy cranberry orange jam/preserve! Then, to make the cookies look like the holidays, I rolled each dough ball in an orange zest-infused sugar, which creates a glimmering coating that resembles freshly fallen snow!

Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

Easy to bake, beautiful to serve and indulgent to eat, make sure you have this recipe handy because your guests will undoubtedly want it!

Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies


For the Cranberry Orange Jam

  • 10 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup Heinen's light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Heinen's ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Heinen's ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Heinen's ground allspice

For the Cookies

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. skim milk
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Heinen's ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Heinen's ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Heinen's ground allspice

For the Orange Sugar

  • ½ cup raw cane sugar (light brown in color)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest


  1. Prep the cranberry orange jam. Add the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and brown sugar to a saucepot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients for the jam and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Set aside in a jar or bowl to cool, then store in fridge until ready to use.
  4. Prep the cookies. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese and granulated sugar.
  5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, then add the milk and white vinegar. Stir until combined.
  6. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
  7. Sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until completely incorporated.
  8. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
  9. Scoop the dough into tablespoon-size portions and roll into balls using your hands.
  10. Place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet. They do not need to be spaced out because they will be chilling on this sheet pan, not baking.
  11. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  13. In a medium-size glass bowl, combine the granulated sugar and orange zest.
  14. Remove the chilled dough balls from the refrigerator.
  15. Transfer the chilled dough balls into the orange sugar and toss to coat.
  16. Place the cookie dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced 1-2 inches apart.
  17. Bake for 8 minutes.
  18. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using the back of a cookie scoop or the non-muddling end of a muddler, press “thumbprints” into the warm cookies.
  19. Scoop a heaping 1/2 tsp. of cranberry jam into each indent.
  20. Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, then remove from the oven.
  21. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

Ashley Durand

By Ashley Durand

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