Vegan Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

November 22, 2022
One of the things I look forward to most about Thanksgiving time is the abundant availability of fresh cranberries. Cranberries are a cold weather fruit and I wait all year for them to come back in stock at the market. Homemade cranberry sauce is one of the most simple and delicious sides you can make during this holiday. I always like to stir in a little orange zest and cinnamon to add some complexity to the flavor.

Cranberry sauce doubles as the perfect filling for the center of some thumbprint cookies. The tartness from the orange cranberry combination pairs perfectly well with the sweetness from the shortbread cookie. I topped each cookie with a drizzle of orange glaze, but you can skip this part if you would like to save time or calories. You can make these ahead of time and freeze them, removing them to thaw the night before you would like them to be served.
vegan cranberry orange thumbprint cookies on a black cooling rack

Vegan Cranberry Orange Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe Type:
utensils YIELDS 24 cookies
herb graphic for recipe card
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp orange zest
  • For the cookie:
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup vegan butter, room temperature
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 2 tsp water
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1. Prepare your cranberry sauce for the filling. Add the orange juice, sugar, and cranberries to a pot and bring to a low boil.

2. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes, until the cranberries have all popped and the liquid has reduced. Stir in the orange zest and cinnamon and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and flour. Add the vanilla and butter and use an electric mixer to mix until combined and crumbly.

5. Use your hands to form the dough into balls about an inch large. Set each ball onto the cookie sheets (I put 6 cookies per sheet, baking in two batches) and use your thumb to press a small hole down into the middle.

6. Fill each thumbprint with about 1 tsp of the cranberry filling and place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

7. While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

8. Remove cookies from oven and let cool before glazing. Top with orange zest if desired.

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Photo: Lauren Sacerdote

Lauren is a homebody who likes to spend time with her cat, explore new ideas in the kitchen, relax in the sun with a good book, and promote healthy living to friends and family.


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