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Cranberry Pistachio Slice and Bake Christmas Cookies

Updated on November 29, 2014

Slice and Bake Cookies

These ice-box cookies measure 1 inch square after baking.
These ice-box cookies measure 1 inch square after baking.

This "Ice-Box" Cookie Recipe was Diane Sawyer's Holiday Favorite!

Yes, Diane Sawyer admitted that this is her favorite Christmas cookie. In fact, I found out that many people just love this cookie. One of my closest friends says that it reminds her of a cookie that her favorite aunt used to make. For that reason alone, I make these icebox cookies for her every year at Christmas. Yes, I do.

I must give full credit for this Christmas Cookie Recipe to Good Morning America and Diane Sawyer!

It is not a quick recipe--so you should make a lot of this icebox cookie dough--but it is well worth the time you put into creating these festive cranberry pistachio slice and bake cookies.

If you love pistachios and are not allergic to tree nuts, then this cookie recipe will become one of your Holiday favorites, too.

All images are mine unless otherwise stated.

Holiday Cookie Recipe Ingredients: - Makes approximately 3 Dozen

Make sure you have the following ingredients on hand. Except for the nuts and the colored sugar, most of us who like to bake will have these products on hand in the pantry.

  • all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • ground cinnamon
  • salt
  • unsalted butter, softened
  • granulated sugar (I use organic)
  • fresh orange zest, finely grated
  • shelled pistachios (not dyed red)
  • dried cranberries (I use Craisins)
  • a large egg, lightly beaten
  • decorative sugar (preferably coarse) I used red and green, but you can just use white

Pistachio Cranberry Icebox Cookie

Slice and Bake 3 dozen of this wonderful cookie!

As said before, I got this recipe from Good Morning America several years ago. GMA states that the original recipe came from the kitchens of Gourmet Magazine in 2006.

There is a printable recipe just a little down this page. I have included in this article some photos of me making these Holiday cookies. I hope you will enjoy this recipe for slice and bake refrigerator cookies as much as my family does.

Cranberry Pistachio Cookie Photo by Mickie Goad
Cranberry Pistachio Cookie Photo by Mickie Goad

Here is the printable recipe for this delightful cookie. Keep all the ingredients on hand so you can make another batch! This is has become a favorite cookie for my family during the holidays.

The original recipe suggests: "Dough bars can be chilled for up to three days or frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil, for one month. Thaw frozen dough in refrigerator just until dough can be sliced. Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for five days." (Original Recipe from Gourmet magazine, Dec. 2006)

Cook Time

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: at least 3 hours

Serves: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), softened
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (2 1/4 oz, not dyed red)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (1 1/4 oz)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup red and green decorative sugar

Instructions

  1. Sift together flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
  2. Beat together butter, sugar and zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high about five minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three batches.
  4. Mixing until dough just comes together in clumps, then mix in pistachios and cranberries.
  5. Form into a ball and cut in half.
  6. Press each half ball of dough into a log about one-and-a-half inches in diameter.
  7. Square off long sides of each log to form a bar, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until very firm, at least two hours.
  8. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Brush egg over all four long sides of bars (but not ends).
  11. Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well.
  12. Cut each bar crosswise into one-quarter-inch thick slices, rotating the bar after cutting each slice to help keep square shape. If dough gets too soft, freeze bars briefly until firm.
  13. Arrange cookies about one-half inch apart on lined baking sheets.
  14. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 15 to 18 minutes total. Transfer cookies from parchment to racks using a slotted spatula and cool completely.
5 stars from 1 rating of Cranberry Pistachio Slice and Bake Cookies

To bake these Christmas Cookies, I used a commercial non-stick sheet pan:

I wash my baking pan by hand and do not put this sheet pan in the dishwasher EVER. I also use parchment paper to line the cookie sheet. The sugar crystals on the edges of this cookie makes them stick.

You need more than one of these cookie sheets; otherwise, you must let the pan cool before preparing the next batch. It is not good to put a cookie to be baked on a warm pan. They spread too much if you do. I have a convection oven, so I can put two pans in the oven. If you are not able to use a convection oven and still want to bake two sheets of cookies, bake for half the time then switching the top cookie sheet to the bottom rack and moving the bottom sheet to the top.

I also use Kirkland Parchment Paper - Keeps Christmas Cookies from sticking!

Once you use parchment paper you will never go back to a spray oil. I even use parchment when I cook chicken fingers and french fries.

Cream the butter and sugar and orange zest:

Use the high speed on your mixer and cream the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. It can take a little time, but be patient and make sure you cannot see the granules of sugar in the butter. The recipe says "cream until pale and fluffy, about three minutes." Depending on your mixer, it could take about 5.

Orange Zest for the Cookies

Orange Zest for the Cookies
Orange Zest for the Cookies

Add the flour and beat until dough "clumps" - Mix in the nuts and cranberries

Use low speed to mix the flour in three batches. When it clumps, stir in the nuts and berries. Dough will be lumpy.

Form cookie dough into a ball-- - then divide the ball in half

Each half will make one log of the slice and bake cookie dough.

Form the cookie dough into "square" logs - 1 1/2 inches wide, 1 1/2 inches deep

I cannot remember how long each log was. I just wanted to make the cookies square!

I used waxed paper to press the logs into shape.

Slice the sugared cookie logs into 1/4 inch pieces - using a sharp knife!

Notice that I wrapped the logs in plastic wrap when I put them in the refrigerator. Chill out! The recipe says chill logs for at least 2 hours. I kept the logs in the fridge for a day.

To put the sugar on the cookie, you use a pastry brush to apply the beaten egg on the long sides of the dough log. Do not put the egg on the ends. Sprinkle decorative sugar on a separate sheet of parchment or wax paper and press bars into sugar, coating well. Your fingers will turn red and green so wash your hands before you begin on the second log if you are using a different color of sugar.

Tip: the colder the log, the easier it is to cut. Keep the second log in the fridge while you slice the first.

Finished Christmas Cookies - Sliced and Baked to perfection

add the orange zest
add the orange zest

These Christmas cookies just melt in one's mouth. Use the best quality ingredients that you can, especially butter. My baking idol, Ina Garten agrees with me. I know so because she wrote the same thing in one of her cook books. She sometimes gives a name brand recommendation.

Enjoy your holidays and may your baking experiences be delightful. I have found that I enjoy the season more if I limit my baking to one or two goodies. One really good cookie is better than an aching back and acid reflux. Make my slice and bake cookies your recipe to try this year. You and your family will love them.

Comment: Do these photos of the Cranberry Pistachio Cookies make your mouth water? - Diane Sawyer would be proud of my holiday cookies!

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    • profile image

      SlashedReads 3 years ago

      Oh my these cookies sure don't make themselves. I wish I had a dozen of them right now LOL. Excellent job putting it altogether and the photos are great. Diane would be proud and probably 5 pounds heavier with these treats. Time to write your own cookbook :)

    • profile image

      adianty-lili2 3 years ago

      When I see the picture I'll think Bread with raisin and nuts

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @aredey: The red and green sugars make these cookies very Christmas-y.

    • profile image

      aredey 3 years ago

      Cranberry Pistachio Slice and Bake Cookies look so sweet

    • ElsieNew profile image

      ElsieNew 3 years ago

      These cookies look so good that even though cookies are not my favorite to make, I am making them for company this week-end. Wow! I can taste them already.... Thanks for a great lense.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @Annabeau: They are!

    • Annabeau profile image

      Annabeau 3 years ago

      Wow.. these cookies look great...

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @Susan Zutautas: Luckily this recipe does not need a whole lot of nuts!

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      They sure do make my mouth water. The only problem I have is that every time I bring pistachios into the house they disappear so quick. They're like an endangered nut :) I must try these and I'll have to make them as soon as I come home with the pistachios.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @mcallisterbagco: I had to wash my hands after making the green sugared cookies so there would be no transfer to the red ones.

    • profile image

      mcallisterbagco 3 years ago

      These look yummy! & like they could cause some red & green mouths! :)

    • profile image

      acreativethinker 3 years ago

      These look super yummy! Thanks for sharing.

      Take care and have a great day! :)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      These sound wonderful. Thanks

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @esmonaco: This is a wonderful cookie that melts in your mouth.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @kehsiberry: Thanks for the Pin!

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: HoHoHo

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @RinchenChodron: Yes, they are especially festive with the red and green sugars.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @LiteraryMind: I suggest that everyone makes 2 batches!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 3 years ago

      I'm going to try them. They are festive looking and unique. Thanks

    • mommyplus3kids profile image

      mommyplus3kids 3 years ago

      I just can wait to try these. They look delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      These look very festive.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Oh my yes! Here's my mailing address... :-)

    • kehsiberry profile image

      kehsiberry 3 years ago

      love your recipe. I shared it on pinterest!

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      These look really good. I don't think tha I've had these before, Thanks so much for the recipe.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @clouda9 lm: Thanks for the compliment. Will go find your pinboard to see what other cookies are there. I am always looking for another great cookie!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 4 years ago

      Found your recipe on the Holiday Cook-Off: Christmas Cookies...love pistachios, love cranberries, love cookies...SOLD and shared on my cookie pinboard!