Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Everyone who bakes seems to have a go-to cookie recipe. One that you turn to when faced with a cookie emergency, such as babysitting your almost 3-year-old nephew who walks through your door demanding he wants to make cookies with you. You quickly grab some butter from the fridge, blitz it in the microwave enough to pretend you left it out overnight, and gather some pantry staples along with your trusty Kitchenaid mixer to do your nephew's bidding.

The cookies have to be kid-friendly, but also grown-up friendly, because God knows you'll be eating more than the 3-year-old. My favorite cookie recipe, hands down, is this Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie. It combines two classic cookies--chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin--but kicks it up a notch by substituting dried cranberries for the raisins.

The dried cranberries give these cookies a tart bite. These are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside cookies, truly the ultimate cookie texture if you ask me. A hint of cinnamon and vanilla elevate these fragrant cookies even more. When my nephew and I whipped these up, I actually halved the recipe (mainly to speed things up, but also because I didn't have enough chocolate chips to make a full batch--additionally I'd like to note that I used mini chocolate chips this time, but have used regular in the past; either one works just fine).

Whether you make a full or half batch of these, I guarantee you won't be disappointed. I'm not the biggest fan of oatmeal-raisin myself (I'm way more of a chocolate chip girl), but these cookies truly are the ultimate cookies. Next on the agenda: stock up on chocolate chips to make these again the next time I have a little visitor at my door!

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies
(Adapted from I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups quick or rolled oats
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 3 to 4 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Place butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low for 1 minute, then beat on medium for 2 minutes until combined.  Stop and scrape down the sides, then beat again for 2 more minutes until smooth.  Scrape down again, and add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium for 30 seconds after each addition.  Scrape down the sides and add vanilla.  Then beat for 15 seconds more.  Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.  Add the chocolate chips, oats, and cranberries and mix on low until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Using a small 1 1/2-tablespoon capacity ice cream/cookie scoop, portion cookies onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing them about 3 inches apart.  Bake on top and center racks of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, switching the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time, until cookies are lightly golden brown around the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature on the baking sheets, about 30 minutes.  Store in a tightly sealed plastic container for several days at room temperature, or for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

*Note* This recipe can easily be halved--half of 3/4 cup granulated sugar would be 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, and half of 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries is 3/4 cup. The other measurements are much more straight-forward for halving.


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