xmas inspired shortbread – fruity & spicy!

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Xmas is less than 2 weeks off: it’s about time to think “Xmas cookies”! I ventured on special shortbread cookies: a fruity & a spicy Xmas experience.


I started some shortbread cookie production some weeks ago – this will be the basis for today’s activities.

It was really cold this time of the year: even my bamboo leaves were icy in the morning – although there wasn’t any snow so far.

Nevertheless you’ll start thinking about Xmas & winter & oranges & end up with longing for German stollen & German lebkuchen flavour… So what about combining typical lebkuchen spices or oranges into shortbread cookies?

That’s – once again – the job!

What do we need for 2 batches of shortbread cookies?


For the shortbread cookie dough:

  • flour
  • icing sugar
  • salt
  • butter.

For the fruity flavour:

  • candied orange peel
  • orange zest
  • vanilla sugar.

For the spicy flavour:

  • ground cinnamon
  • ground mace
  • ground cloves
  • ground cardamom
  • ground ginger
  • ground coriander
  • vanilla sugar.

(…& later for the chocolate icing we’ll need chocolate!)


I started w/ off-the-shelf candied orange peel which is far to chunky for any cookies… so I chopped it up as finely as possible. (… & I used also off-the-shelf sugared orange peel – you may use fresh grated orange peel instead.)


All ingredients for each batch were mixed & kneaded: work fast w/ your hands because the butter tends to get very soft very soon!
Afterwards form a dough roll for each batch & store it in the fridge for at least 30 min – or longer if your fridge doesn’t happen to own a section near freezing point. (I made dough rolls of about 5 cm in diameter leading to about 25 shortbread cookies.)

In the meantime prepare the baking trays by lining them w/ baking parchment & pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C w/ fan.

Finally unwrap the cooled rolls & cut them into slices of about 0,5 cm.


Arrange the slices in a 5 × 3 pattern on the baking trays: each baking tray is therefore ready to give home to 15 shortbread cookies.


I used 2 baking trays for each type of Xmas shortbread: so I did 2 sessions in the oven.

The shortbread cookies are ready when starting to get brown on the edges.

When leaving the oven the cookies are rather soft so you’ll need to wait 2-3 min before being able to transfer them to a cooling rack.

The fruity orange cookies are dotted w/ tiny bits of candied orange peel while the spicy cookies are light brown because of the spices.

(…& you see by their irregular shape that they are very handmade!)


It’s Xmas: so we do some chocolate icing as soon as the cookies are at room temperature.


Just dip the spicy cookies in the melted chocolate to get a half-covered chocolate cookie.

The fruity cookies get a small dollop of chocolate on top which will be flattened w/ a teaspoon.

…& then we’ve finished!


xmas inspired shortbread – fruity & spicy!

Prep Time: 60 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Servings: about 25 cookies for each type

xmas inspired shortbread – fruity & spicy!

Xmas is less than 2 weeks off: it's about time to think "Xmas cookies"! I ventured on special shortbread cookies: a fruity & a spicy Xmas experience.


    for each batch of shortbread cookies:
  • 150 gr all-purpose flour
  • 50 gr icing sugar
  • 125 gr butter
  • 1/4 teespoon salt
  • especially for the fruity type:
  • 50 gr candied orange peel (very finely chopped)
  • grated zest of 1 orange OR 1 packet of ready-to-use sugared orange peel
  • 2 packets vanilla sugar
  • 75 gr dark chocolate for chocolate icing - optional
  • especially for the spicy type:
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 packets vanilla sugar
  • 75 gr dark chocolate for chocolate icing - optional

How to...

  1. Prepare 2x a mix of flour, icing sugar & salt & add the 125 gr piece of butter.
  2. Grate zest of an orange (if not using ready-to-use sugared orange peel).
  3. Chop up finely the candied orange peel.
  4. Take a flour mix with butter, add the defined spices & ingredients for the intended shortbread type.
  5. Work w/ your hands to crumble & knead everything thoroughly.
  6. If consistent: form a roll (diameter: about 4-5 cm).
  7. Wrap the roll in wrapping film & smoothen the roll by rolling.
  8. Put the shortbread roll in the fridge.
  9. Repeat step #4 to #8 for each shortbread type.
  10. Leave the shortbread rolls for at least 30 min in the fridge (near freezing point).
  11. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C w/ fan.
  12. Line 2 baking trays w/ baking parchment.
  13. After the freezing session take a shortbread roll, unwrap it & cut the dough in slices of about 0,5 cm.
  14. Put the slices on a baking tray (5 x 3).
  15. If the baking trays are filled put them in the oven for about 12-14 min.
  16. If the shortbread cookies are turning slightly brown at the edges they are ok.
  17. Remove the baking trays from the oven, wait for 2-3 min & transfer the shortbread cookies to a cooling rack.
  18. Refill the baking trays (step #13 - #17) for the 2nd batch.
  19. As soon as the shortbread cookies have cooled down to room temperature put them in a cookie jar.
  20. From now it's optional:
  21. If you like a chocolate icing...
  22. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie & let it cool... (from really hot to warm...).
  23. Dip a spicy shortbread cookie in the melted chocolate & store it on a plate.
  24. Put a dollop of chocolate on a fruity shortbread cookie & flatten it w/ a teaspoon.
  25. Repeat until there isn't any melted chocolate left.
  26. Put the chocolate covered cookies in the fridge until the chocolate is set again.
  27. Then put the chocolate covered cookies in a cookie tin.


Prep Time: It's the preparation of the ingredients, the making of the shortbread dough, the "rolling" & the cooling session. Anything beyond the activities before entering the oven are not included.

Cooling session: 30 min are minimum (if an "almost freezing" section in the fridge is available). Otherwise it will be about 60 min or even more. The dough rolls should be rather firm to allow cutting slices.

If you think that the spicy type of cookies is too spicy just reduce ground mace, ground cloves, ground cardamom & ground ginger to 1/8 tsp each (i. e. 50%).

If you don't like the tiny bits of candies orange peel just skip it & use the double amount of orange peel/zest instead.

Cook Time: refers to each oven session (i. e. 2 sessions this time).

Sugared orange peel: it's orange zest w/ sugar that can be bought ready-to-use.

Vanilla sugar: It's sugar with vanilla seeds; you may also use a vanilla bean & scrape the seeds.

If the dough roll has a diameter of about 5 cm you'll get about 25 cookies. If it's about 4 cm you'll get up to 30-32 cookies.

The shortbread cookies are rather crispy & stay crispy when stored in an appropriate cookie jar. You can store them for a least 2 weeks - I don't have any experience with any shortbread cookies that survived this limit.



Concerning the texture of the shortbread cookies:

  • Both are crisp & crumbling & soft altogether.
  • The fruity cookies are full of little bits of candied orange peel.
    (If you don’t like the tiny bits just skip the candied orange peel.)
  • The spicy cookies are …very spicy!
    (I like this spiciness – my better half would have preferred a less spicy version…
    It’s easy: just take only half of the “heavy” spices (pls refer to recipe box) if you like it less gingerbread-like.)


Well: I messed around w/ the chocolate icing…

  • Last time I microwaved the chocolate & all was fine. This time – I think it was a little too long in the microwave – I got coagulated chocolate (for the bin).
  • Next approach: I heated the chocolate in a bain-marie – a little more time-consuming -, but it worked.

As I mentioned beforehand it was very cold outside so I decided to cool the chocolate icing outside – which was fine, but…

  • …either I didn’t let it cool off long enough or
  • it was too hot in my kitchen when returning the cookie plates…

The crisp & glossy chocolate icing turned into a soft/creamy & matt glaze… (no impact to flavour!).


(Didn’t I mention previously that icing & me never were best pals…?)



The Businesswoman with too many office hours thinks

It’s the same production process: only new ingredients – means the same time I’ll need & the same results quantitatively. Quite a nice idea for Xmas… these flavours… It’s like having German lebkuchen w/o real lebkuchen just in a cookie!



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