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I don’t know where my love of Hallmark movies came from. I think it was my first year working in a corporate setting (I previously worked in retail stores). While working in a retail store during the holiday season can be exhausting, there’s a certain social aspect of it that you miss once you no longer have it.
I would go upstairs early, change into my pajamas, and jump into bed and turn on the Hallmark Channel (and NO, I’m not being paid to say this!). My tradition has changed slightly each year, but I’m still hooked on them and watch them religiously each year. Currently, I make sure to catch the premieres each Saturday and Sunday (at 8 pm if you wanna check em out!). I use this time to try out new cookie recipes in preparation for Christmas.
Baking cookies is one of my absolute favorite things to do in the kitchen. When my husband and I were dating, we would often eat a frozen pizza and drink wine, and finish off our meal with homemade cookies that we baked together. We used these chocolate chips that were white and dark chocolate swirled together that we got at some off-price store that I can’t remember the name of. Ah, to be young again.
So, this past Sunday, before the newest premiere, I tried out a new cookie recipe from the Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies 65 Recipes for Classic & New Holiday Treats cookbook: Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies (except I used chips, so I’m calling them Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies – I’m that crazy girl who buys chocolate chips in bulk this time of year). They are soo good, and a fun alternative to just plain old choc chip. The mixture of the chewy, slightly tart cranberries, with the rich semi-sweet chocolate and sweet and creamy white chocolate, is a combo made in heaven!
By the way, this cookie cookbook is seriously amazing, and I intend to make as many cookie recipes from it as possible before Christmas. I promise to share with friends and family. Wink, wink.
A little note, the original recipe called for walnuts, but I excluded them. We are an “anti-nuts” in cookies household, haha! I told the hubs the recipe was supposed to have nuts, and he responded: “eww, that would ruin them!”. If you like nuts in cookies, I think pecans would be good in place of walnuts, but maybe that’s the southern girl in me.
Let’s get baking!
Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 3/4 cup salted butter or 1 1/2 sticks (that’s not a typo!) softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (dark, light, whatever you have on hand)
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp light corn syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Optional – 1 1/4 cups walnuts or pecans
Cream the butter, sugars and corn syrup together in a large mixing bowl, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Stir together the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. With the mixer running on low, gradually pour the dry mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until just creamed together – don’t over mix!
In a medium bowl, combine cranberries, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, and nuts if using them. Stir 2/3 of the mixture into the dough by hand, reserving the remaining 1/3.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough (I used my cookie scoop, but a regular tablespoon will do) onto a parchment or silicone baking mat covered baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Chill for at least 15 minutes. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
After the cookies have chilled and the oven is pre-heated, place the cookies on a rack in the middle of the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the cookies, and press the remaining cranberry mixture on top (do it quickly!) and place back in the oven for 6-8 minutes (6 minutes was plenty in my oven to yield a soft cookie. Bake longer if you like em crunchy!).
Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then move to a cooling rack. Or as we do in our household, remove them straight to a plate and eat as many as you can while they’re soft and piping hot! 🙂 No shame in our game! Serve with a big glass of milk and as many Christmas movies you can watch!
Tips and Tricks:
- I always get tons of compliments when I bake cookies, and that’s because I have a little secret – I use salted butter. Cookies typically call for salt to be added, but this little trick yields the most flavorful cookies. Seriously, give it a try. I always add just a touch less of the salt called for (if it’s 1 tsp, I scoop up one tsp with my measuring spoon, then shake a little out).
- Bonus points for using European butter. Seriously, it makes a huge difference when you use it in cookies. The additional milk fat adds a special umami, the richest mouthfeel, and the cookies typically spread out less. Cookie recipes are pretty simple in terms of ingredients, so it’s important to use the best (that fits your budget anyway). We use regular butter on a day to day basis, but when it comes to baking up a batch of cookies, the European butter comes out to play.
- There’s only two of us – so I never bake the entire batch when I’m trying out a new recipe. When chilling cookie dough that will be scooped and dropped like in this recipe, spoon or scoop all of your dough onto parchment paper or silicone mats, and stick in the fridge on a baking sheet. The dough is easier to scoop when it’s first mixed. Then, the smaller balls of dough will chill faster, which means eating those delicious cookies faster.
- Bake what you want to eat and freeze any leftover balls of dough. Pop the chilled sheet of raw dough in the freezer until the balls are frozen. Write the cookie name/type on a freezer bag, along with the baking instructions. Pop the frozen dough balls into the bag, and then pull out and bake whenever a cookie craving hits. Especially helpful when getting invited to last minute parties, or when you get super busy and don’t have time later in the season. By Christmas Eve I have a freezer full of different varieties of cookies that are ready to go without the prep work. You can thank me later.
There you have it! I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, and use my cookie tips. Definitely check out that cookbook, I think it’s only $5 on Amazon! What is your favorite Christmas cookie to bake?