Cookies / Dessert

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

So, I got demoted from Christmas Dinner Dessert duty to Christmas Eve Dessert duty. I was going to make eggnog bread pudding for Christmas, and do individual servings, baked in a muffin tin. I was basing my recipe off of a combination of Rachael Ray’s panetone eggnog bread pudding and a few other recipes I’d see on blogs (including one on Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice). Anyways, my mother is a Traditionalist that does not believe in a) deviating from a recipe, b) doing anything outside the box, and c) making individual bread puddings (despite my protests that they do it on Chopped all the time). So, rather than present something I cannot stand behind, I opted for making the cookies for dessert the evening before. My mother will be making the bread pudding, sans any of my suggestions or two-cents (aren’t the holidays so fun?!).

For the cookies, I went with a recipe for Cranberry White Chocolate Chip cookies my mom gave me that she clipped from a magazine (better to stay on her good side and do something pre-approved). The recipe advertises that it’s a “healthier” cookie, although I’m a bit skeptical  based on the amount of butter and sugar it calls for (and the fact that it has white chocolate chips). If you truly wanted to healthify these, I’d recommend using a mixture of butter and applesauce, or just applesauce, and sub the white chocolate for dark chocolate mini chips. Also, be aware that these came out pretty sweet…like, Ina Garten sweet, so you could easily reduce the amount of sugar called for, as well. If I’d been making these for another occasion, I would’ve made the substitutions to lighten them up, but my family is one of those families that doesn’t believe in things like non-fat sour cream or using chicken stock instead of oil when cooking, and they aren’t exactly keen when I try to push “healthy” food their way. So, I stuck with the recipe as-is….mostly. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup sugar, and I replaced about 2 tbsp of that with a Splenda brown sugar baking blend. Other than that though, I refrained from deviating.

In hindsight, it would have been beneficial to deviate. The batter was crumbly thanks to what must be an uneven ratio of wet to dry ingredients. I added a splash of milk, but the cookies were still pretty delicate and not the kind of texture I would hope for. I’d suggest either using less of the dry ingredients, or adding 1 1/2 eggs instead of just 1. The cookies also didn’t flatten out at all when baking; for the second batch, I was more careful to press them into firmer balls and flatten them a bit before baking, as the first dozen were way too crumbly/delicate.

The moral of the story? I should have improvised and added to the recipe, because sometimes you just have to think outside the box. Kinda like individual servings of bread pudding…

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Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies (original recipe posted in MySpry)
(makes 3 dozen according to the recipe, but those would be pretty tiny cookies; I made 2 dozen)

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries (I used Trader Joe’s organic)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I only used about 1/3 cup)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and egg until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients until well-combined. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir in cranberries and white chocolate chips until blended. Drop dough onto a cookie sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake 10-12 minutes.

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In other news, I got Christmas presents. Which included some cookbooks! (I also got an emulsion blender, which I’m probably too excited about).
I asked for both a vegetarian and vegan cookbook. Even though I tend to just improvise or find stuff online, it’s nice to have some go-to cookbooks in your collection, and I asked for two that I’ve been eyeing for a while.

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Cooking Light’s Way To Cook Vegetarian is awesome for a bunch of reasons. I really like the Way To Cook series, and the vegetarian edition is chock full of awesome stuff. There’s pictures for every recipe, as well as nutritional info. There are also a lot of helpful how-to’s.

Veganomicon is the one vegan cookbook I would consider owning. While I am not vegan, I do like vegan cooking, and it’s one of those things I’d like to experiment with and get better at. While this cookbook doesn’t have pictures (huge bummer, there’s a few in the middle, but other than that there are none) or nutritional information, there are vegan recipes for every meal and occasion; there are even party-friendly recipes to make for non-vegan friends that probably have never heard of nutritional yeast or Earth Balance.

My mom also gave me Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book. It’s truly a classic, and while I don’t bake cookies all the time, this is the cookie book to own, and the only one I will ever need.

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