Okay, so this is a way overdue post as I actually made these cookies as part of our Christmas cookie hampers, but that’s just one of the things that can happen when you’re baking almost every weekend and the glut of recipes and more exciting photos keep pushing old ones to the back of the pile (the number of recipes I’ve made and not blogged would make quite a decent list of its own).
Fresh cranberries are almost impossible to get a hold of here in Australia (in fact, I’ve never spotted them myself, but then again, I tend not to visit the trendier markets where growers have 30+ varieties of potatoes…?!), and dried cranberries have also been a bit of a mystical beast to me for the past few years, till one day I spotted them on the shelves of my local supermarket. However, the next thing I checked was the price, and I had to give myself a bit of time to recover from the shock of my eyeballs jumping from my head. Uhh, over $4.00 for a 125g packet of cranberries (and WTF is with labelling them ‘craisins’, stupid marketing wankers). You have GOT to be kidding me. However, I was curious about the taste, so I forked over my cash and brought a little sachet home with me to sample. I tore open the foil packaging and cautiously placed one on my mouth. I hmmed and hawwed, chewed on the tiny ruby morsel thoughtfully, and swallowed.
10 minutes later, I sighed happily and tossed the emtpy package into the bin.
Damnit. They tasted good! But at that price, I’d send myself broke if I incorporated them into my fruit & nut snack mix, so I woefully cast them from my mind, shielding my eyes from their siren call as I passed them on my frequent trips through the baking supplies aisle at my local supermarket, sighing wistfully as I imagined their lovely ruby-red, shrivelled little forms beckoning to me as I scurried past.
Oh, if only I could convey just how much it pained me to do so!
Now, late last year I had a brief squeal of joy on this blog as I mentioned a local independant supermarket which had opened directly next to the local store, and apart from their biodegradable plastic bags and dedication to only stocking quality produce and reducing waste. This supermarket has become my first stop when grocery shopping, as though there are no fancy signs, no ‘sale’ cataloges and no cereals and virtually no processed foods, they have the most wonderful selection of fruit and vegetables. And the nut and dried fruit aisle! Oh, be still my heart! I usually take about 10 minutes browsing just this one aisle as I control myself from buying every good available to me, having to restrain myself to just what I need. And when I spotted their bags of cranberries and their price, I did in fact let out a squeal of joy that prompted a lady further up the aisle to come scurrying down to see what it was that I gripped tightly in my hand.
“Oh, cranberries” she sighed longingly, “I’m allergic to those.”
Once I got home with my treasured dried cranberries in hand (as well as a few other bags of groceries), I plonked myself in front of the computer to find a cranberry cookie recipe that I could try. While there were some interesting ones I came across, most featured oats as an ingredient, which I didn’t want to bake as the hampers were already going to contain ANZAC biscuits, a very oaty type of cookie indeed.
I finally managed to find one that looked and sounded like exactly what I wanted, so I printed off the recipe and darted to my kitchen, eager to give it a try. Once the first tray of cookies had cooled and hardened up, I picked one up and eagerly took a bite.
Uhh, way WAY too sweet. Especially with the added sweetness of the white chocolate and dried cranberries (though they did have a lovely tartness about their flavour as well). I grumbled and accepted that we’d have to give all of these away in the hampers as they were far too sweet for our tastes, and as soon as they were done, I set about mixing up another batch, reducing the sugar to what I thought was a far more reasonable amount.
The end result? A lovely cookie that won’t overwhelm your tastebuds with sugar, crunchy around the edges but with a slightly more chewy centre, flecked with white and ruby red gems peeking out from the cookie dough. Easy to make, even easier to consume, if you plan on making these for your Christmas hampers at the end of this year, just be sure to make extra for yourself too as otherwise you may find that you’ve eaten the ones intended for the hamper recipients!
Oh, and to the oh-so-clever marketing folks who sell dried cranberries in colourful packages at exorbitant prices and rename them craisins, don’t try to be so clever. You may find it works better for you. Bastards.
White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies
(Adapted from here)
110g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp natural vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar till smooth and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat till well combined.
3. Sift together the flour and baking soda then mix into the creamed butter mixture, then add the white choc chips and dried cranberries and mix well.
4. Line a baking/cookie tray with non-stick baking paper and carefully scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto the tray, at least 5cm (2 inches) apart as these babies spread!
3. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven (less if you prefer your cookies chewy, more if you want a little crunch), till they are well puffed, golden on top and nicely browned underneath. Remove the baking tray from the oven and leave the cookies to cool completely on the tray before removing them to a wire rack (be warned, these cookies are EXTREMELY soft and delicate till they have cooled down).
[tags]Christmas, cookies, biscuits, baking, desserts, cranberries, chocolate, sweets[/tags]