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These simple and easy-to-make Lemon Cranberry Cookies have a sweet and tart flavor that is truly unique while being crazy easy to make. These make a great addition to your holiday cookie exchange as well!
What’s to Love About These Lemon Cranberry Cake Cookies
These cake mix cookies are easy to make and have a great flavor that will make waves at the Christmas cookie exchange or a summer tea party. With a few simple ingredients, you can make a large batch of cookies that no one will ever guess came from a boxed mix.
Starting with a cake mix gives you a great advantage because you don’t have to spend time measuring out common ingredients like flour, sugar, and baking powder. The cake mix is our ‘helper’ ingredient for this lemon cookie recipe.
- Cake mix (lemon cake) – Because the main flavor is lemon for these cookies, you’ll want to start with a lemon cake mix. You could also use a white cake, just know that it won’t be quite as lemony.
- Lemon zest – To amp up the lemon flavor naturally.
- Dried sweetened cranberries – I used sweetened ones for these cookies, but I’ve also made them using unsweetened ones. The unsweetened are a bit tangier so it just depends on what you’d like.
- Icing sugar (optional) – The icing sugar gives these cookies that ‘crinkle’ festive feel, but as you can see lower in this post, I made some without the sugar and they’re just as pretty. Use the sugar if you have it on hand (or if you want to) or, leave it out. Either way will turn out delicious!
Eazy Tip: Remember, salt, pepper, garlic, oil, water and *Optional* items don’t factor into the ingredient count because most people have those pantry items in their kitchen.
How to Make these Adorable Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix together your cake mix, eggs, oil, cranberries, and lemon zest.
- Roll your cookies into balls.
- At this point, if you wish to have the cracked effect you can then roll your cookie balls into icing sugar. This totally optional step is what gives the cool crinkle effect.
- After rolling your cookie balls, place them onto your lined cookie sheets and bake until the edges become golden. Then remove and place on the counter for the centers to finish. This will give you a moist chewy cookie.
Suggestions for Putting a Twist on It
- You can make these your own by swapping up the cake mixes. If you wanted a chocolate cranberry flavor perfect for the holidays you could swap out the cake mix for a box of red velvet cake mix and leave out the lemon. This would make a wonderful holiday cookie.
- You can swap in unsweetened cranberries for a less sweet flavor or add a tropical take with shredded coconut.
- Adding some chopped almonds or pecans would add some great crunch to the cookie, giving it even more textural contrast.
- You could add other dried fruits like diced-up dried pineapple for a tropical twist no one else would have in their cookies.
- To REALLY amp up the lemon flavor, use a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract.
What Can I Serve this With?
These cookies are great for serving at holiday parties, along with this scrumptious 5 Ingredient Buttery Pecan Pie Bark, and my 2 Ingredient Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie Cups. Also, these cookies are perfect for handing out at your local Christmas cookie exchange or simply making a fun treat for your family.
Serving with milk after school for the kids, or, having them with a cup of tea or coffee is a nice personal break!
Don’t forget, these can make a great treat when used to make an ice cream cookie sandwich with vanilla ice cream. These cookies are bite-size, so making them into ice cream sandwiches makes them a decadent dessert with little guilt.
These cookies freeze beautifully, making for a great option to make well ahead of time. When freezing them be sure to store them in an air-tight container because, if not, they could dry out. In my last batch, I left the lid off when I grabbed a few from the freezer and they were a bit too crunchy when they thawed.
However……. nothing that a dunk in a glass of milk couldn’t solve! 🙂
Questions You Might Have
Sure! You might find that it makes the cookie taste sweeter overall because there’s no ‘tang’ from the cranberries. Raisins would be delicious though!
Yes, it shouldn’t be a problem. Melt the butter first to help it incorporate into the dough.
I’ve never tried it making them plant-based, but the good news is that most boxed cake mixes are vegan. It’s the milk/eggs/butter, etc that make them not. So, you could try using aquafaba or another easy egg replacer for the levener/binder.
- 1 box Lemon Cake Mix
- 1/2 cup Cranberries, dried, sweetened
- 2 Egg, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar *OPTIONAL
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheight
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients except the icing sugar.
- Mix until just combined (don't overwork the dough).
- With a small cookie scoop, scoop out cookies and roll them into 1" balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- After rolling all the cookies, roll each one in the confectioner's sugar and place it back on the sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, watching that they don't overbake.
- Remove from the oven, and allow them to cool for a few minutes before transferring the cookies to a cooling rack.
1. For more cranberry flavor throughout the cookie, try chopping up the cranberries into smaller bits so there is more fruit dispersed throughout the cookie.
2. Depending on your oven, and how soft/hard you prefer the cookies, will depend on how long you bake them. Start checking them at the 6-minute mark. The shorter time in the oven will yield a softer cookie.
3. If you find the cookie dough too sticky to work with when rolling, try chilling the batter for 10 minutes OR (which I found to be better) try wetting your hands under water and then rolling the dough balls. The water prevents the dough from getting sticky on your hands.
4. These make small, bite-size cookies. If you want larger ones, simply roll out the balls larger.
5. When zesting the lemon, be sure to only take the peel of the lemon, and not the white pith underneath. The pith is bitter and could add that flavor the cookies.
Amount Per Serving Calories 111Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 12mgSodium 124mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 0gSugar 11gProtein 1g
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands used, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.