Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies – These orange cranberry cookies have plenty of chocolate in every bite. They’re a perfect gluten-free holiday cookie!
These cookies literally came to me in a dream.
I’m a VERY vivid dreamer (I could write full novels based on some of the most detailed dreams I’ve had. It’s bananas), and one week in early November I had an exceptionally detailed dream about making gluten-free orange cranberry chocolate chunk cookies.
My dream self literally got out all the ingredients, put on my holiday apron, and made them. I could picture the scent of the orange zest in the air, hear the scrape of my spatula against the side of the mixing bowl, and taste the warm puddles of melty chocolate as I pulled them out of the oven.
Had I ever eaten a cookie like this? Nope. But the next morning when I woke up, I knew I had to make them.
I’m so glad I did! Orange, cranberry, and chocolate are such gorgeous complementary flavors for this time of year, and one bite into a cookie you’ll know you’ve made the right choice. These gluten-free orange cranberry chocolate chip cookies are (literally) everything I dreamed they would be and their chewy golden texture, bright citrus and tangy cranberry notes pair perfectly with the melty chocolate in every bite.
Best of all, you’ll use pretty basic ingredients for this recipe! The real secret is in a few simple techniques that make all the difference. Here’s what you’ll need to get started…
Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies At A Glance:
- Ingredients For Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
- How To Make Orange Cranberry Cookies, Step-By-Step
- Tips For The Best Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- How To Measure Flour Correctly For Cookies
- FAQ – Commonly Asked Questions About Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Tools & Ingredients We Recommend For These Cookies
- RECIPE: Gluten-Free Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Ingredients For Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies:
- Sugar & Orange Zest. We start off these orange cranberry chocolate chip cookies with a trick I learned from this Dorie Greenspan book. Any time you add citrus zest to a recipe, rub it into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar takes on a bit of the color and the citrus is fragrant and bright. This infuses the sugar with the essential oils from the zest, carrying the flavor further into the recipe than just adding the zest alone.
- Brown Sugar & Softened Butter. Once you’ve rubbed the zest into the sugar, you’re ready to cream the sugar with brown sugar and softened butter. This will distrubute that citrus flavor and give the dough a great texture.
- Eggs & Vanilla. Then, we’ll round out the wet ingredients with eggs and vanilla. The eggs bind the dough and add chewiness, while the vanilla adds its gorgeous aroma to round out the citrus, cranberry, and chocolate flavors in these orange chocolate chip cookies.
- Gluten-Free Measure-For-Measure Flour. Like most of my cookie recipes, these cranberry chocolate chip cookies use King Arthur Measure-For-Measure Flour. It gives a great texture–chewy cookies with golden edges and no weird/gritty aftertaste.
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder. We use a mix of both to help the cookies spread and puff. It helps give them a great texture!
- Salt. To help balance the flavors. In my opinion, salt makes or breaks a good cookie recipe!
- Dried Cranberries. Simple and easy! These add a great flavor note along with the chocolate and orange.
- Chocolate Chunks & Chocolate Chips. I love using the different kinds of chocolate for cranberry chocolate chip cookies because it makes each cookie a little bit unique and more exciting. You can absolutely use all chocolate chunks or chocolate chips, if you like.
How To Make Orange Cranberry Cookies Step By Step:
- Infuse The Sugar. Add the sugar and orange zest to your mixer (or a large bowl). Rub the zest into the sugar with clean/dry fingers to infuse the sugar with the orange essential oils. The sugar should take on a peachy orange color and the orange should be very fragrant.
- Cream With Brown Sugar & Butter. Next, add the brown sugar and softened butter to the orange zest & sugar. Beat the mixture about 2 minutes, until creamy and slightly lighter in color.
- Add Eggs, One At A Time, beating to incorporate between each addition.
- Then, Add The Vanilla and beat to combine.
- Scrape Down The Edges And Add Your Dry Ingredients. Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the mixer. Add about half of the flour (adding it a bit at a time helps prevent spills). Mix about 20 seconds or so until it’s mostly incorporated and add the rest of the flour. Mix until just almost combined.
- Add Chocolate & Dried Cranberries. Scrape down the edges of the bowl again as needed and add chocolate chunks, chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. Stir to combine. (The dough will be thick and sticky at this point)
- Cover & Chill The Dough. Chill the dough at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours) before baking. This will allow the flour to hydrate properly
- Preheat The Oven & Prep Your Baking Sheets. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (You’ll alternate between the two sheets to allow the baking sheet to cool down between batches)
- Scoop The Dough Into Balls using a medium cookie scoop (1.5″ balls) and place 6-8 cookie dough balls on one of the prepared baking sheets. (Refrigerate the rest of the dough between batches)
- Bake 8-10 minutes (mine needed 9.5 min) or until the edges are set and golden and the centers of the cookies look just slightly underdone. (They’ll continue cooking as they cool on the baking sheet).
- Cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to continue cooling and setting.
- Repeat with remaining dough until all the cookies are baked, alternating between the two cookie sheets so you’re not putting cold dough on hot baking sheets.
Tips & Tricks For The Best Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
How To Zest An Orange. You only want the orange zest, NOT the white pith when you’re zesting an orange. The white pith is bitter, while the orange zest is full of that fresh orange flavor. A microplane zester makes zesting SUPER easy! (They’re inexpensive, and can also be used to grate cheese, shave chocolate or garlic, etc.)
Don’t Skip The Chill Time. Be sure to chill the dough! It allows the flour to hydrate (absorb liquid from the dough) properly, which leads to better texture. This is especially important in gluten-free cookies which can end up gritty without properly chilling. Chilling also helps control the spread of the cookies. If you don’t chill the dough, your cranberry chocolate cookies may spread irregularly and end up more thin and crisp.
Try These With A Pinch Of Cinnamon. For a fall-ish twist, you can add a tiny pinch of cinnamon to the batter along with the dry ingredients. 1/8-1/4 tsp. works for a tiny hint of flavor.
Try Adding Nuts! For a nutty crunch, you can swap out the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. (Toast the pecans first for extra flavor!)
Psst! Make Sure You Measure Your Flour Correctly!
This will make a HUGE difference in the quality of your bakes! We recommend the scoop and level method or (better yet!) weighing your flour for the best results.
FAQ – Common Questions About Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
Can I Use Chocolate Chips Instead Of Chocolate Chunks? Yes! I use a mixture of chocolate chunks and chocolate chips because I like the variety of shapes and sizes, but you can absolutely use all chocolate chips (or all chocolate chunks, for that matter!).
Can I Use White Chocolate Instead? Yes! I prefer the intensity of using semi-sweet or dark chocolate with the orange and cranberry, but white chocolate is also great with cranberries. I like Guittard brand white chocolate chips if I’m going that route.
Can You Freeze Orange Cranberry Cookies? Yes! You can freeze the dough following the instructions in our How To Freeze Cookie Dough post, or you can freeze baked gluten-free orange cranberry chocolate chunk cookies in a freezer bag or container in a single layer (or layers separated with parchment) for up to 6 weeks.
Our Favorite Tools & Ingredients For These cookies:
- The Best Gluten-Free Flour – makes light cakes & muffins, fudgy brownies, and gorgeous cookies!
- Light-Colored Baking Sheets – For even baking. These last forever!
- Pre-Cut Parchment Sheets – To make things easier on yourself. Especially great when you’re working with multiple batches or baking for the holidays.
- Medium Cookie Scoop – Makes portioning dough quick and easy. These wash well, too!
- Inexpensive Kitchen Scale – Weighing your flour will give you the BEST bakes possible!
- Stand Mixer – I love my mixer and use it for EVERYTHING. All of the things.
- Paddle Attachment – Great for mixing cookie dough and cake batter! It’s got a spatula edge that naturally scrapes the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to pause to scrape down the sides as often.
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