Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Fresh Cranberries Are Here

There is nothing quite like the taste of a fresh, crisp, very tart cranberry. I hear they grow in bogs in New England, but I find them every fall, like clockwork, in the produce section in one pound bags. There are lots of fine things to do with them from sweet to savory but today I wanted to make cookies, so I found a recipe for fresh cranberry cookies that also have the essence of an orange via freshly grated orange zest and also the mellow counterpoint of white chocolate. Since these are made with butter and regular flour I let Sweetie be the taste tester and he pronounced them to be very good.

The cookie dough itself is similar to what you would find with a chocolate chip cookie, with butter, brown and white sugars, egg and vanilla. When you add the orange zest it changes everything because you get both the fragrance and the taste from that fresh orange oil contained in the zest.

I cut the fresh cranberries with a sharp knife, but I suspect you could also put them into a food processor and pulse a few times and get the same results. But then you have to clean the food processor pieces...a knife and cutting board clean up super fast. I was getting ready to make dinner when I was making these, so quick clean up was more important than ease of cutting.

The white chocolate could be chunks, but I had the chips I buy from the market, so in they went. I used a disher to scoop up the dough...like a small ice cream scoop with a curved blade that pushes the dough off the tool so it falls on the cookie sheet. I used parchment paper on one sheet and a silicone mat on the other. It didn't seem to make much difference, so use what you have. Greasing the sheet works fine, too.

These charming cookies are tart from the cranberries, sweet from the chocolate and sugars, crunchy on the edges and soft in the middle. They are an altogether fine autumn cookie for you to enjoy, so make a batch, OK?

Fresh Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies - about 36 cookies
from Betty Crocker's website
1/4    cup butter, softened
1/2    cup sugar
1/2    cup packed brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange 
1        egg
2       teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2  cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1/2    teaspoon baking powder
1/2    teaspoon baking soda
1/4    teaspoon salt
1        cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries, coarsely chopped or left whole
1/2    cup white chocolate chunks or chips

·         1 Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and orange zest on medium speed of the electric mixer until well blended. (The mixture will have the consistency of wet sand.) Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
·         2 In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add the cranberries and white chocolate and stir just until blended.

·         3 Drop spoonfuls of dough about 1 inch apart on a cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until light golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Let set on cookie sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

1 comment :

  1. I love cranberries so much as well - and since it's delightfully chilly in the mornings and evenings (and yesterday, well into the day - it didn't get up to sixty-eight but I'm sure that will change!) lately, I've been thinking about doing cranberry cookies as well. One of our best Christmas cookies was made of a modified sugar-cookie dough, rolled out and coated with a slurry of brown sugar and milk, then a layered with chopped almonds, cranberries, and orange zest. We left a half inch of dough on one end and 3/4 inch of dough on the other end clear of any filling, so that when we rolled it, the pinwheel center was very definite, and so that the roll stayed rolled and then we froze it for a couple of hours, sliced it, and baked. It's a recipe that lends itself to fiddling, I think.