Cranberry Hallongrotta Cookies


I finally made my own cranberry sauce this past Thanksgiving. The slightly sweet, slightly tart side dish has always been my favorite staple of the holiday table. So it was about time I tried making a homemade version. Who knew it was so simple? I bought two bags of organic cranberries, added some water, sugar and orange zest and voila! I had myself some delicious, red-as-rubies cranberry sauce that my family absolutely devoured!

Thanksgiving may be over, but cranberries can still be the star of your winter holiday preparations. They’re still found in abundance at the market and their beautiful deep color and delectable tartness make them the perfect inspiration for a variety of dishes.

I’ve been on a holiday cookie-making spree at my house so naturally, I decided to feature my homemade cranberry sauce in a simple yet elegant cookie recipe. These are similar to the classic thumbprint cookies I’ve previously posted here and here. But this time, instead of rolling the dough in my hands and making the center depression with my trusty thumb, I used a round cookie cutter and the end of a pestle to create the well for my cranberry sauce filling. The result is reminiscent of the Swedish Hallongrotta cookie which is a traditional molded cookie, flavored with vanilla and filled with raspberry jam. Hallongrotta means “raspberry cave”in Swedish which I just love. Plus, it sounds slightly classier than “thumbprint”, wouldn’t you say? ; )

Here’s what you’ll need to make these adorable little “cranberry caves” this holiday season. They’ll be simply perfect at your family gathering, office party or packaged up in festive boxes as gifts for friends or neighbors.

For the cranberry sauce/filling:

  • one 12-oz bag of cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unbleached cane sugar
  • zest and juice of one orange

For the cookie dough:

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery stick, softened
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Begin by making your cranberry sauce. Place the water and sugar into a large pot over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Rinse and drain your cranberries then add them in. Cook until the cranberries have burst open, stirring occasionally, and then remove from heat.  Zest your orange over the pot, then slice it in half and squeeze in the juice. Stir to combine and set aside. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Now prepare your cookie dough.

Place the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk together. With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until it’s light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the milk and vanilla until well combined. Next, beat in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Gather the dough into a large ball.

Preheat the oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough ball onto a floured surface with a rolling pin. I like to place a sheet of wax paper over the dough as I roll, to keep it from sticking to the pin.

Using a round cookie cutter (mine was 1.75-inch diameter), cut out your circles and place them onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, about an inch apart from each other. Use the end of your pestle or any other tool you can find with a smaller concentric diameter to make your impressions.


Next, use a small spoon to fill each “cave” with a spot of cranberry sauce.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the dough is just slightly golden. Allow your cookies to cool completely before dusting them with some powdered sugar. Serve and enjoy!




Happy eating and happy holidays from our table to yours.

— Lauren