Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Most excellent

It used to be, in the day before food blogs, or at least in the days before I knew they existed, I would go to Barnes and Noble or Books-A-Million, buy a coffee, and then lose myself in the cookbook section. I carried a little notebook and pen with me and whenever I spied a recipe that appealed to me, I wrote it down. Sometimes I would hit the bookstores with a certain type of food in mind, like smoothies or tarts, but more often than not, I just free-wheeled my way around. In this way I discovered some real keepers—the pesto torte for one.

On one such visit, I fell in love with The All-American Cookie Book. I pointed it out to Mr. Handsome (he must of been along with me which was pretty unusual since he hates hanging out in commercial establishments, including restaurants [woe is me!]) and later on (the same night? a month later?) I discovered the coveted book lying on my pillow when I went upstairs to our bed under the eaves.

Over the subsequent years, I have made many a cookie from that book, but one of my favorites (of all the cookies I’ve tried, I’ve latched on to two in particular) is the Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies.


Oh my stars and heavenly angels, these cookies are dangerous addicting: rich, chewy, tender, tart, sweet, creamy, crunchy.


Wait. Did you catch that? Let me run those adjectives past you again. Listen up real good.

Rich.
Chewy.

Tender.
Tart.
Sweet.
Creamy.
Crunchy.

That’s a heck of a lot of variety in one little cookie! These babes are over-achievers. They are go-getters. They are Something Else.


These cookies remind me of the ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery in that they have almost as many add-ins as they do base. There doesn’t seem to possibly be enough dough to hold the giant pile of nuts, chocolate, and fruit together, but never fear, there is. Everything melds together perfectly.


I munched my way through the mixing (Ooo! there’s a piece of chocolate... Ooo! lemme try a fresh cranberry with ANOTHER piece of chocolate ... Ooo! how about a dried cranberry with a fresh cranberry AND a pecan ... Ooo! now I need to taste them ALL together ... and repeat) and baking (Oops, that cookie cracked in half ... Oops, THAT cookie cracked in half .... Oops... and so on and so on) of a double batch and now I feel slightly ill.


Yet I still have to engage in psychological warfare to keep my butt in this chair and my fingers on the keyboard and away from the rows of cookies.


Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett

Nancy says that the lemon glaze in optional, but I beg to disagree. It’s true, the cookies are plenty delicious without the icing, but the citrus-y tang in the icing blends perfectly with the cranberries, cinnamon, and chocolate—the two forces working together knock the cookies completely out of this world.

I use the glaze very sparingly, so one recipe is enough for a double batch of cookies.

1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons orange zest
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 2/3 cups white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) chopped pecans
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) dried cranberries
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) white chocolate, chopped
½ cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 recipe lemon glaze (recipe follows)

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, zest, and vanilla and beat some more.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat together.

Add the nuts, fresh and dried cranberries, and white chocolate and stir to incorporate.

Scoop out the cookies, about a tablespoon of the dough per cookie, and place them on a greased baking sheet, leaving about two inches between cookies as they will spread a bit. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for about ten minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown but the centers are still soft but no longer wet.

Let the cookies remain on the baking sheets for at least a minute, but no more than two (if left on the tray too long, they will harden and then crumble when you try to lift them off), to firm up a bit. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To drizzle the glaze over the cookies, place the cookies close together on a cut-open brown paper bag (when done, just chuck the paper in the garbage—makes for easy clean-up) and wave a fork-full of icing back and forth over the cookies to make a pretty pattern. When the icing has hardened, store the cookies in plastic containers between layers of wax paper (so they don’t stick together) and freeze.

Yield: About 3 dozen cookies

Lemon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons water

Mix together, adding more water if necessary in order to make a glaze thin enough to drizzle.

About One Year Ago: Walnut Balls.

8 comments:

  1. Wow. I have a recipe for Cranberry Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies that I thought were really good. These look even better.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holy Smoly! Just what I need . . . another cookie I've GOT to make. These sound WONDERFUL!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am so thrilled to hear that you like my cookie book. For an author this is almost as exciting as somebody telling you have a wonderful child! Would it be okay if I quoted some of your remarks about the book on my website and linked to this post?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Of course, Nancy! I'd be honored.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think you need to do a "cookie giveaway"... Think of all the calories you'll save :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would like to enter for the cookie giveaway. Or perhaps the cookie of the day club. I wouldn't even mind driving the 30 miles or so in order to do a special pick up. Ha. Since I'm nursing, I can justify an extra 500 calories, can't I?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just made cranberry & white chocolate cookies, and they were good, but these sound awesome! Great picture showing the dough straining to hold all those goodies together. Beautilicious!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mavis, Make the cookies yourself and then you don't need to depend on my temperamental fits of good will in order to benefit. (Warning: you'll have to stash them at the bottom of the freezer along with the lemon bars to ensure that no one else gets to them---these, by the way, are EXCELLENT straight from the freezer, AND Mr. Handsome says they just might be his favorite cookie of all time).

    Karen, You come visit me and I'll feed you so many cookies we'll have to ROLL you back out to your car. And, just so you know, nursing gives you the right to eat 1000 extra calories a day.

    Lynn, They ARE awesome. (I hope that doesn't make me sound like a braggart---it's not my own recipe creation after all, so I THINK I'm allowed to say that...)

    ReplyDelete