Zesty Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Zesty Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies
These cookies are lovely. They are crunchy, but also have a melt-in-the-mouth, ultra light – almost powdery – texture. The flavours and orangey aroma are distinctly Christmassy, but as I am such a great fan of cranberry and white chocolate – a pairing made in heaven – I see no point in keeping them aside for December.

This recipe is really easy to make, and contains no egg. (Handy to remember if you find yourself craving as cookie fix, with no eggs to hand). It is also very adaptable. If you’ve no cranberries, white chocolate or even oranges to hand, the zest of a couple of lemons – or a teaspoon of natural lemon extract -will produce fantastically tangy, summery cookies.

Makes 20.

150g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
Zest of 1 large orange, or 1 tsp natural orange extract
180g caster sugar
180g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
60g cranberries
60g white chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

Make It Vegan! Simply use Stork (block, not tub) or Earth Balance in the US instead of butter and use dairy free white chocolate.

Preheat the oven to 180c / 350f / gas mark 4 and line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.

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Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or a wooden spoon and plenty of oomph, beat together the butter, orange zest (or extract) and sugar until light and fluffy.

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Add the flour gradually and beat until you have a thoroughly combined, fairly stiff dough. Then add the cranberries and white chocolate. Keep mixing on a slow speed just until they are evenly distributed through the cookie dough (if you’re doing this by hand, you might find it easier to lightly knead by hand rather than a spoon.)

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Empty the contents onto a clean surface and bring together to for a ball. This dough will make 20 cookies; the easiest way to do this is to divide into four equal chunks, then split each chunk into 5 walnut sized balls.

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Gently flatten each ball with the palm of your hand to a 1cm thickness. Or if you’re a pedant like me and you own marzipan spacers, use them – the thinnest edges upturned, giving you a 1cm guide – and line up the balls between the spacers. Using a saucer or the bottom of a wide mug, flatten into uniform discs. Ahem.

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Now pop the discs onto your prepared tin(s). Allow at least an inch around each cookie as they will spread. (I tend to make these cookies in at least two batches).

Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 12 minutes. They will have spread out and look quite pale, possibly with the merest hint of gold on the edges. This is perfect. They will still be extremely soft at this stage. Place the tin on a cooling rack and allow about 15 minutes, by which time they will be crisp enough to carefully remove to cool completely. Once cold, store in ann airtight tub where they will keep for a few days.

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