Thursday, December 12, 2013

Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies


Tis the season to bake.  I believe it's safe to say that this time of year is the Olympics of baking.  From about mid November through the new year people's mixers, ovens, and stoves are getting the workout of their life.  From making dressing, baking that turkey and ham, all the sides and then the goodies; it's definitely a rat race.  But I love every minute of it! 


There are several types of cookies and flavor combinations that come to mind when I think of the holidays.  Peppermint and chocolate,  Mexican wedding cookies, gingersnaps, ginberbread, eggnog and so many others.  Another classic and ever so popular combination is cranberry and white chocolate; such a dynamic duo in my opinion.   


This combination has been heavy on my mind lately.  From biscotti, to cookies and the amazingly delicious and addicting Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks (I will be making these soon), I can't get enough of these flavors.  These cookies are fluffy, soft and so chewy.  The epitome of the perfect cookie.  They are then loaded with oodles of white chocolate and cranberries.
The base of the cookie is basic; sugar, brown sugar, butter and eggs.  The brown sugar lends a rich layer of flavor as well as help provide a cookie that is beyond chewy.  The cranberries add a layer of texture and tartness that's quickly cut by the sweet, smooth white chocolate.  Fresh from the oven these cookies are nothing short of amazing; warm, soft and so gooey.  But they are equally delicious popped in the microwave for a few seconds and enjoyed with a big glass of cold milk. 
These cookies are the perfect size to be placed on a yummy cookie tray, tied up in cute little bags and given as gifts or placed in tins for your neighbors.  Another option, instead of giving the gift of a baked cookie to friends and family is giving them homemade slice and bake cookies.  I have plenty of friends that enjoy fresh baked cookies but don't enjoy the mixing process, so the fun cookie mix in a jar wouldn't really appeal to them, but a batch of dough that's already been mixed for them would definitely be ideal.  I've taken a batch of this cookie dough, rolled it and wrapped in in plastic wrap and then in freezer paper and tied it with some fun Christmas ribbon.  Just pop it in the freezer until you're ready to hand out your gifts.  How fun and easy is that? 

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients:

1 Stick (1/2 Cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup white sugar
1 Egg
1 Tsp vanilla
!/4 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cup white chocolate chips
3/4 Cup dried cranberries

Directions:

To bake-
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Place butter in a large bowl and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 60-90 seconds.  Add both sugars and beat on high until lighter in color and sugars are incorporated, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.  Add the flour and salt and mix until incorporated.  Once the flour and salt are incorporated, increase mixing spead to medium-high and beat for 1 minute.  Add the cranberries and white chocolate chips and stir to incorporate into the batter. 

Using a cookie scoop, mine is about 1 tablespoon, scoop the cookies and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between each cookie.  Using the palm of your hand, or the base of a flat bottomed glass, slightly flatten the cookies, just enough to remove the rounded top.*

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, being sure not to overbake.  I baked mine for about 9 minutes.  They do appear underdone when removed from the oven but they will firm up as they cool.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

*These cookies do not spread during the baking process.  The shape that they enter the oven will be the shape the come out of the oven.

To freeze-
Roll the dough into a log that is about 1 inch around.  Cut the dough in half and lay each piece on a piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap the plastic wrap around the dough, making sure the entire piece of dough is covered. 

On the outer side of the freezer wrap, write the type of cookie along with the baking instructions. 

Instructions:
Cut dough in half in pieces and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Place the two pieces of wrapped dough in a sheet of freezer paper and roll.  Secure each end of the paper with a fun piece of ribbon.  Place in the freezer until you're ready to give to your friends. 

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original 

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