Cranberry Streusel Cookies
An almond, orange, and chevre cookie is stuffed with homemade cranberry jam, topped with an almond, orange, and rosemary streusel then generously drizzled with a tangy buttermilk glaze. Can a cookie be perfect? This one is as close to perfection as I could make.
There is something so enticing about chevre in a cookie. A delectable, tangy, creamy, beautiful fresh goat cheese is whipped with butter to a cloud like consistency before the other ingredients are added. It can’t be detected in the cookie, rather it combines with the butter to lighten the cookie dough and add a subtle earthy tang that will have you wondering why you can’t stop eating it.
I love to balance and play with flavors but even more so around the holidays. It’s my time to be creative and rethink recipes as written, a time to put a fun spin on classics and try out something new. The main flavors of this cookie are orange, almond, and cranberry. The buttermilk glaze and whipped chevre are supporting actors of the main stars by creating a smooth canvas for the tart, bright flavors to shine through. Together they create the most beautiful and bright cookie with a perfect bite.
Holiday season is fast approaching, we are now one week away from Thanksgiving. My, how time flies. I know how hard it is to find time and space to cook and bake everything you want to in the kitchen, at least I do, and luckily these cookies can be made up to 5 days in advance. I love making (and eating!) pie just as much as I love making them, but I do strongly feel cookies should have a place on the Thanksgiving dessert menu. They are easy to make, easy to share, have less cleanup, and much like pie can be enjoyed the next morning with a hot cup of coffee. I do hope these cookies have a spot in your holiday baking this year!
Why I Love This Recipe
Flavor-I start out by making a cheesy cookie base by whipping fresh chevre and butter together until light as a cloud. The tangy nature of goat cheese adds a a nice backdrop for the almond, orange, and cranberry flavors to shine through. There is fresh orange zest in the cookie dough and streusel, along with fresh orange juice added to the dough to brighten the sweetness of the cookie dough. The cranberry blood orange jam in the middle is the star of the show and adds a bright pop of cranberry flavor along with a striking bright red color. The streusel on top of the cookie has toasted almonds and chopped rosemary that bakes to a tasty crisp on top of the cookies creating a warm topping for the cookie. The buttermilk drizzle, continuing with the bright and tangy flavors of the cookie, sits on top for a creamy bite that pairs well with the soft cookie underneath.
Texture-while making the dough I highlight specific times on how to properly mix and aerate the butter, chevre, and eggs. This cookie dough is very light and creates a light and fluffy cookie. It is cakey in texture and every bit delicious with the thick jammy middle, crunchy streusel topping, and creamy buttermilk glaze. The almonds are toasted prior to adding to the streusel which gives additional crispness to the streusel topping. The cranberry blood orange jam is thick and sweet in the middle and a wonderful texture in contrast to the light cookie. The streusel bakes to a crunchy and crisp topping right on top of the cranberry jam. All together the cookie feels like a delicious slice of coffee cake wrapped up into a cookie.
Make Ahead-With the holidays just around the corner I love that this cookie is easy to put together, easy to assemble, and can be baked ahead of time so I don’t have to be stuck in the kitchen when guests are visiting. I can make these in advance and pack them up for road trips with ease as well. The blood orange jam can be made several weeks ahead, and the cookies can be baked, glazed, and packaged up to 5 days in advance. I recommend storing the cookies in a closed container in a single layer.
Vibrant-The contrast of the pale delicate cookie, the white buttermilk drizzle, and the bright red cranberry jam is STUNNING. Even if you aren’t a fan of cranberries, you cannot deny the beauty the tiny red fruit gives to this cookie. Slicing the cookies in half to reveal a vibrant jammy middle will have everybody clamoring to take pics of this gorgeous dessert.
Ingredients You Need
-Chevre-I used my chevre from CKC Farms. I highly recommend using chevre in this cookie because it imparts a wonderful tangy flavor. If you do not have chevre you can substitute cream cheese in equal amounts if you must. But, seriously, use chevre. If you don’t like chevre…we can’t be friends.
-Granulated & Brown sugar-I am using a small amount of brown sugar to keep some chewiness in the cookie.
-Egg Yolk- this will keep our dough soft and also give a rich flavor to the cookie.
-Cake Flour- I love using cake flour for cookies that are lighter in color and have a soft cake-like texture. You can substitute all purpose flour but the texture will be denser.
-Orange Juice and Zest-there is only a tablespoon of orange juice in this recipe. It will add flavor and also react with the rising agents to make a soft and fluffy cookie.
-Baking Soda/Baking Powder
-Cornstarch- I like the soft texture cornstarch gives the cookie.
-Cranberry Blood Orange Jam- this is a super easy and quick recipe. It can be made well in advance before making the cookies. The jam will stay fresh in the fridge for a month.
Almond Orange Streusel
-Flour- I used Sonora wheat from Barton Springs Mill. It is a wonderful organic and locally milled flour in Dripping Springs, TX. This variety is quickly becoming my baking favorite and I have been consistently using it for sourdough bread and pie crusts for the last 2 months. Good stuff.
-Butter-melted and cooled
-Brown & Granulated Sugar
-Toasted Almonds-I take a few minutes to toast sliced almonds over medium heat before I make the crumble. I highly recommend toasting them as it brings out a nuttier flavor and improves the texture to have a crisp snap to them.
-Fresh rosemary-this is entirely optional, but I had some in my fridge I was saving to throw into a pot roast. I am so glad I added it to the streusel! It adds a savory herbaceous flavor to the crumble that is subtle but oh so delicious. If you aren’t a fan of rosemary, it is fine to omit.
-Salt-this will balance the sweetness of the streusel while also bringing out the flavor of the orange zest and almonds.
Before making the cookie dough I like to make the almond orange streusel first. This will help speed up the process of stuffing the cookies and topping with streusel much quicker as all of the components will be ready for cookie assembly.
In a bowl I combine flour, sugars, orange zest, salt, and finely chopped toasted almonds and rosemary. I melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds then cool the butter for several minutes prior to adding to the streusel. After the butter is cooled, I pour the butter on top of the dry ingredients and gently fluff with a fork. The mixture will look dry and crumbly with no visible spots of flour left. I don’t want to over mix since I want nice sized cluster of butter and flour to place on top of the cookies.
I set the bowl of streusel to the side as I prepare the cookie dough.
Let’s Make Cookies!
The orange almond cookie dough is easy to put together but does have an increased mixing time in the beginning to properly whip the goat cheese and butter together. You do not want to miss this critical step as it will help achieve light and fluffy cookies. No chill time is necessary for the cookie dough since it has a higher ratio of flour, uses cake flour, and incorporates cornstarch. This is a sturdy dough. If making the dough in advance, store covered in the fridge for 3 days or freeze in a zippered freezer bag for up to 6 months.
In a bowl I mix the butter, chevre, and both types of sugars on medium high speed for at least 5 minutes. When I set a timer for this recipe to take notes, I wrote down the butter and sugar are light and creamy around the 5-minute mark and I continued on to whip them up for an additional 2 minutes. Incorporating air into the chevre and butter will yield a light and tender cookie.
After 7 minutes I added the egg, egg yolk, orange zest, almond extract, and orange juice and continued to mix an additional 2 minutes on medium high speed. The mixture will look smooth and creamy at this point with no trace of egg white in the batter.
I sift the cake flour, flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda over the bowl of wet ingredients and turn the mixer on low to mix just until combined. The dough will look soft and be slightly sticky.
Using a 2-ounce cookie scoop, I portion out 12 rounds of cookie dough on a baking sheet. Carefully either with a spoon or a clean thumb, I make an indention about one inch across and 1 ½ inch deep into the cookie. It resembles a large thumbprint cookie at this point. I repeat with the remaining cookies.
Using a teaspoon, I carefully fill the well in the center with cranberry jam making sure not to overfill and steering clear of smudging the red jam on the top of the cookie. I am using about a half a teaspoon of jam per cookie.
Once the cookies are all filled with jam, I take the streusel and generously top each cookie. I press the streusel into the cranberry jam slightly and on the top portion of the cookie dough. The streusel will be quite crumbly, and some will fall to the sides of the cookie dough. Not to worry, when I transfer the cookie dough to the baking sheet prior to putting in the oven, I press the bottoms of the cookie dough into the streusel that has fallen onto the bottom of the cookie sheet. I aim to not waste any delicious crumbly streusel.
I bake these cookies at 375*F for 12 minutes. I know when they are ready by the light golden color at the very edge of the cookies and the toasty golden streusel tops. These cookies themselves stay quite pale and only develop a little color on the edges as they bake.
I cool the cookies 5 minutes on the pan then transfer to a cooling rack to continue to cool for 20-30 minutes.
As the cookies are cooling, I prepare the buttermilk glaze. In a bowl I add the powdered sugar and buttermilk and stir with a fork until smooth and creamy. The glaze should be thick but still pourable, it will have the consistency of very thick maple syrup.
I pour the glaze into a zippered sandwich bag and cut off the very tip of the corner of the bag. This step is optional, I have also used a tablespoon to drizzle the glaze on top, but for special occasions I want my glaze to be perfectly uniform in size and thickness. The bag with the corner snipped off will help me achieve uniform glaze lines on each cookie.
After the cookies have cooled completely, I drizzle the glaze on top using a swift and steady zig zag motion as I firmly press the glaze through the hole in the bag. The glaze will set up and be firm after 20 minutes. After this time the cookies can be individually packaged or arranged in a single layer for storage in a covered container.
Enjoy and I hope you try this recipe soon. Happy Baking!
If you try this recipe and love it as much as I do, please tag, follow, and like @sunshinetxcookies on Instagram and Facebook. New posts every Thursday so be sure to follow me for more delicious cookie recipes.
Cranberry Streusel Cookies
- 1 stick butter unsalted, room temperature.
- 4 oz chevre room temperature, can substitute cream cheese if you must.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tspn orange zest
- 1 tbspn orange juice
- 1 tspn almond extract
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbspn cornstarch
- ½ tspn baking soda
- ½ tspn baking powder
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ tspn salt
- 4 oz cranberry blood orange jam
Almond Orange Streusel
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 tbspn melted butter cooled
- 2 tbspn brown sugar
- 1½ tbspn granulated sugar
- 2 tbspn toasted almonds chopped finely
- 1 tspn orange zest
- ¼ tspn salt
- ½ tspn fresh rosemary chopped finely, optional
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp buttermilk
Almond Orange Streusel
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork.
- Add the cooled melted butter to the dry ingredients.
- Using a fork gently fluff the butter and flour mixture until it resemble coarse crumbs. No pockets of flour should remain.
- Set aside as you prepare the cookie dough
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter, sugars, and chevre until light and creamy. This will take at least 5 minutes. I whipped mine for 7 minutes.
- Add in egg, egg yolk, almond extract, orange zest, and orange juice and mix together at medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Sift the flours, baking powder and soda, cornstarch, and salt into the bowl of wet ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated.
- Using a 2 ounce cookie scoop, scoop 12 portions of dough onto a parchment covered baking sheet. The dough will be slightly sticky.
- With the back of a small spoon, or using your thumb, make an indention in the middle of each round of dough roughly an inch across and an inch or so deep.
- Carefully scoop a half a teaspoon of cranberry jam into the center of the well in the cookie dough leaving the cranberry jam exposed. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Take the orange almond streusel and generously press on top of the cranberry jam and cookie dough, pressing firmly into the dough.
- Bake these cookies at 375*F for 12 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden. These cookies will stay on the paler side.
- Cool the cookies for 20 minutes or until they cool to room temperature prior to glazing.
- Combine powdered sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. The glaze should be the consistency of thick maple syrup. If your glaze is too thick add a teaspoon of buttermilk at a time until desired thickness is achieved.
- Use a tablespoon or a small bag with the corner snipped off to generously drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies. Allow the glaze to set up for 10 minutes prior to serving and 20 minutes if you want to package them.