I have an annual tradition of hosting a Holiday Brunch for my girlfriends. We see each other throughout the year, but it's quite rare when we can all get together in a small intimate group without our partners. So, once a year I host a Brunch at my place where we drink copious amounts of Mimosas, Mulled Wine, and Mulled Cider, eat pancakes, waffles, cheeses, stratas and gossip, gossip, gossip. After hours of eating and talking, we round the day off with tea, coffee and dessert. I usually make two sweets for variety (and because I'm crazy...) - cake and cookies.
This time I knew what cake I wanted to make, but I had no idea about cookies. Although I knew that it had to be drop cookies. No matter how much I love and admire the beauty of rolled biscuits, I just don't have the patience. I'm a drop cookie girl :)
First I started looking through Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook, because where else would you go to find cookies? Somehow, nothing spoke to me in that book, so I turned to my favourite cookbook during the Holiday season - Nigella Christmas (by Nigella Lawson). The first time I hosted this Holiday brunch and created this wonderful tradition, I listened to carols and cooked into the wee hours of the night many recipes from this book. It brings me joy and warmth and I can't help but feel happy just looking at it. The pictures and recipes are comforting and conjure a half-forgotten half-imagined feeling of innocence, magic, and wonder.
It is not surprising that in Nigella Christmas cookbook I found a recipe which was really right for me and I had all the ingredients on hand. Even dried cranberries and white chocolate which are both strangers in my pantry. It was like my own little Christmas Miracle.
Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Flour - 150 gBaking powder - 1/2 teaspoonSalt - 1/2 teaspoonRolled oats - 75gButter, room temperature - 1 stick (113 g)Brown sugar - 75gWhite sugar - 50gEgg - 1 largeVanilla extract - 1 teaspoonOrange oil - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)Dried cranberries - 50gPecans or walnuts (or mix), roughly chopped - 50gWhite chocolate, chopped in cranberry sized pieces or chips - 50g
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat together butter and both sugars until creamy, beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix.
- Add the cranberries, nuts and chocolate. Mix.
- Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls with your hands, then place them on the prepared baking sheet and flatten it a little bit with a fork. Leave about 2 inches space between cookies.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes. When they are done, the edges will get darker, but the cookies will still be too soft to lift of the baking sheet.
- Leave to harden on the sheet for about 5 minutes.
- Once hardened, remove with a spatula and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Original recipe had a lot more sugar and white chocolate. I remember thinking that the cookies were good but way too sweet and that I should reduce both sugar and chocolate when I make these again. I finally made repeated the recipe and made adjustments to the amount of sugar and white chocolate and the cookies are really nice now. Subtly sweet, but still yummy and indulgent. If you have a sweeter tooth, then increase white sugar (original recipe called for 100g) and/or white chocolate (original amount was 150g).
I used Orange flavoured cranberries, so I also added a bit of Orange oil. I mentioned numerous times that it is one of my favourite ingredients. I highly recommend buying it and just storing a bottle in the fridge as it lasts for a long time.
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