White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

It’s Christmas time and that means baking cookies for friends and family.  I usually bake a batch of spritz, Italian cookies, pizzellespretzel turtles and may be a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Then I try a new recipe or two in an effort to add to my repertoire.   None from last year made the cut.

The new recipes this year are White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction and confetti cookies from Smitten Kitchen (I’ll write a separate post for this).

The White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies are okay.  They are probably better than okay… But personally, they didn’t wow me so I’ll have to wait on verdicts from the friends and family members.

Soso has tried one already and she likes them. But she did mention that the one advantage to this cookie is that you won’t eat too many.  Doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, does it?  I don’t want to give a bad impression though.  They are perfectly fine cookies. May be someone is a dried cranberry fan and will pick this cookie over the fabulous chocolate chip cookie.  May be you’ll eat this cookie because you hate dark chocolate.  May be if you’re going to eat five cookies, this will be one of your five.  But in all honesty, if I could eat only one of my cookies, it would be this one.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 40 mins
Makes: 2.5 dozen cookies

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla.

On low-speed, slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries mix on low for a few seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. This cookie dough must be chilled.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes for 2 hour chill time. If chilled longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Scoop about 1.5 tablespoon of dough each and roll the dough into balls. Place 10 – 12 on each baking sheet 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Dried Cranberry Scones

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Soso and I love the scones from a local Breadsmith, but we rarely have time to stop by these days. She’s mentioned several times how she misses having scones for breakfast so . . . What’s a mother to do? This is one of the many aspects of parenting you only come to realize as you parent. The desire to tackle new things such as baking scones from scratch.

One of my friends recently mentioned how I’m such a good baker and I laughed.  I’m so NOT a good baker.  Let me tell you what happened the other day when I tried to make spritz cookies… Wait, I’ll have that for another post. Anyway, I do some baking but I still consider myself a novice baker and I have a mental hang up about baking where anything new, any unknown process and technique is involved.  Sometimes, I’m so intimidated that I don’t even try.  Say for example, baking breads because of the yeast factor.

Fortunately scones do not require yeast; otherwise, I would never have tried it. I found a simple, basic scone recipe on King Arthur’s site.  Mix in your choice of add-ins, dried cranberries, currents, raisins, blueberries, nuts, and ta-da!  You have dried cranberry/blueberry/etc scones.  I chose dried cranberries because I always have a Costco sized bag of Craisins at home and I love the slightly tart taste.

If you’ve never made scones before, you may want to read some of the modifications I’ve made to the original directions below.  I found a few steps not intuitive.  For example, I had no idea how to “incorporate butter” into the flour mixture. I found this site that explains several methods.  I used the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and it worked out great.

Also, I placed the divided dough onto wax paper first to shape and slice into wedges, placed the whole thing into a pie pan before throwing into the freezer.  I have a side-by-side freezer and a baking sheet does not fit well at all.

I chose not to add the sugar toppings because same as muffin toppings, I wasn’t sure how well it would do from being frozen and defrosted.

Dried Cranberry Scones

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 25 mins
Serves: 12 scones

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (use more for sweeter scones)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups dried cranberry or add-ins of your choice
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or the flavoring of your choice
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup half and half or milk*

Optional topping
2 teaspoon of half and half or milk
2 tablespoon of sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar

*According to King Arthur’s website, use less half and half or milk during humid season and more during dry season

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

Incorporate butter into the flour mixture using your preferred method until just crumbly. I used the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. Stir in the dried cranberry.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla or other flavor, and half and half or milk. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.

Divide the dough in half and place on wax paper. Press and shape each half into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. If putting on topping, brush each circle with milk and sprinkle with coarse white sugar/cinnamon sugar.

Using a sharp knife run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. Carefully pull apart the wedges from the center and leave 1/2 inch space between them. Place the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. While the doughs are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Transfer the dough wedges onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, store them in resealable plastic bag for a few days or freeze them.