Saturday, 13 December 2014

Cranberry and white chocolate cookies


I just started my three week Christmas holiday (I'm writing this on Friday night, and schedule it to be published early on Saturday morning). I can't remember the last time I would have three weeks off work. Possibly not in ten years, possibly never. In about four hours we are heading off to the airport to go home to Finland to spend Christmas with friends and family. I will be exhausted when the alarm clock goes off, I'm even contemplating just staying up all night.

The weeks leading up to today have been chaotic, both me and the Culinary Consultant have been working long hours, so everything else has been pushed aside. No proper cooking, no house cleaning, very little crafting and certainly no time to plan what to pack and very little thought about Christmas presents. This year we will make do with very few presents. And I don't mind at all! There has been several difficult times this fall, but everyone has made it through and all I want to do is take it easy, do nothing and just enjoy the simple things. Cook nice food. See friends. Spend time with family. My only regret is that my baby Sis, who is doing a wonderful job on her first year as a medical doctor, can't join us this year. 

I am just sitting on the sofa, writing this while the Culinary Consultant (who has to stay awake tomorrow morning for the two hour drive to the airport) is sound asleep upstairs. I'm really tired too, but at the same time I'm so wound up about travelling tomorrow (oh wait, correction, later today!) that I can't really sleep. I keep going over things in my head. Did I really pack everything I need (most likely not, but it won't really matter) and did I really put the passport in my bag (yes, it was there the last seventy-two times I checked, so I'm sure it's still there). Is my phone charged? Yes. Will I remember to pack the phone and the charger tomorrow morning? Yes, because I never go anywhere without my phone. That's pretty much what is going on in my head at the moment. Oh and that little nagging voice saying I should be in bed, and that I will regret this tomorrow morning. No wait, correction again, later this morning. 

I better get on to today's recipe. I had some leftover cream cheese that just "had" to be used up. And when the Culinary Consultant went digging in one of our kitchen cupboards he found a bag of dried cranberries. So it wasn't so much we wanting cookies as it was divine intervention I think. I used this recipe from a blog called Gimme Some Oven. I didn't make any other changes to the recipe apart from halving it, as I thought two dozen cookies should be enough.

Cranberry and white chocolate cookies (makes about 24):
For the cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I used less as I always think recipes use too much salt)
115 g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/2 tsp vanilla paste)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup cranberries

For the frosting:
115 g cream cheese
1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 cup icing sugar

For the topping:
finely chopped dried cranberries
small chocolate chips or melted white chocolate

The howto:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Mix the flour, soda and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugars using an electric mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and keep on whisking. Gradually add the dry ingredients, and mix until batter is smooth. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and cranberries. Wrap dough in cling film and chill for at least an hour.

Place tablespoon sized dollops of the dough onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet, well separated as the cookies expand quite a lot when baking.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Bring cream cheese for the frosting to room temperature.

When cookies are completely cooled, prepare the frosting. Using an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese with the melted chocolate. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, otherwise the chocolate will solidify. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed of the mixed and incorporate the icing sugar. Spread onto the cooled cookies. Decorate with cranberries and white chocolate.

The verdict:
These cookies were very sweet. If you don't like very sweet cookies, don't make them, or alternatively just exclude the icing. But if you do like very sweet things, you will love these. And the tartness of the cranberries does cut the sweetness a bit. Needless to say, these disappeared very quickly from our kitchen, I can't imagine who could have eaten a huge batch of cookies in just a few days... They are so pretty with the red cranberries on the white frosting, very Christmas-y and perfect for the season.

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