Triple (!) Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
For as long as I can remember, Christmas Cookies have been a tradition in my “Family of Origin” and, for the past 32+ years, in the little family that Mr. Fannie and I claim as our own. My repertoire usually consists of approximately 6-8 different kinds of cookies and I take a poll to make sure I have everyone’s favorite cookie covered. My daughter claims the classic sugar cookie as hers, Mr. Fannie claims a chewy chocolate cookie as his and my son, well, he has two; one is the classic jam thumbprint cookie and the other is featured here. To this list, I add a few others; occasionally trying out a new one. Some are a hit, some are a miss. The cookie I am featuring here is a relative newcomer to the list; I’ve been making it since 2005.
After having built such a tradition of cookies, I can tell you that ONCE, during a holiday season that was loaded down with illness and general doldrums, I chose NOT to bake Christmas cookies. Yeah. Well, let’s just say in order to make peace with my little family, they all received a couple of batches of their favorites, baked with love, for Valentine’s Day.
And so, without further ado… let’s get started. First of all, my staff:
Featured, above, is my sous chef; he is wearing the apron his mommy wore many years ago when she entered the Cookie Apprentice Program. Actually, it is wishful thinking that he is here to help me with this blog post; this picture was taken last year. Right now he is at his home in Oklahoma practicing his rendition of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (pronounded REEEN-deer in Parker-speak). Ok, back to work…
As my co-authors like to describe ingredients, here are the “Cast of Characters.”
You may notice the quite large vessel in the right-hand side of the picture. That lovingly stores my King Arthur All Purpose Flour; all twenty-five pounds of it! I found this awesome five gallon paint bucket at Lowe’s (it is sold as an EMPTY vessel, used to store paint, IF YOU WISH. My mother-in-law still can’t quite wrap her head around the fact that I store flour in a paint bucket). I lined it with a (clean) trash can liner and filled it with twenty five pounds of flour, along with my “industrial size” stainless steel scooping spoon. I love this beast! I don’t have a pantry large enough to store it, so it just hangs out, next to the “bread cupboard” upon which resides the bread machine; sort of a “Baking Central.”
Anyway, I digress.
The other star performer in THIS Idiosyncrazies Kitchen has made it’s debut performance this year; none other then my KitchenAid 6 quart stand mixer.
I am in ecstacy when this steel piece of machinery blends butter and sugar together effortlessly! Ooops, again, I’m digressing.
So, the cast of characters are mixed in the ordinary cookie fashion, combining butters and sugars, blending in dry ingredients and then, finally, mixing in the “gems” of the cookie. In this case, the gems are not one, not two but THREE types of chocolate chips AND chopped fresh (or frozen, NOT dried) cranberries. Look at this! The redness of the cranberries really does add a festive touch, don’t you think?
And now, here we are, with the help of my mini-scoop, all of the little rounds of dough sitting nicely, well spaced on their prepared cookie sheet.
And then…edges just barely browned, they “finished” for five minutes on the cookie sheet and then, voila…sitting patiently…cooling…before the *BLING* of the finishing touch…
And then…transformed from not JUST a cookie…but a CHRISTMAS COOKIE…
Worthy of presentation on this, one of my most prized possessions…
And so, for those of you who might not want to run the risk of ONLY having these cookies by being the lucky recipient of the “Idiosyncrazies Ship To You Cookie Exchange,” here’s the recipe (and a couple of tips thrown in for Christmas Cheer and Goodwill to Cookie Eaters one and all)!
1 cup all purpose flour
(here’s a tip I learned from my friends at KAF (considere it my little bonus gift to you); do not “scoop” your flour by dipping the cup into the canister and leveling off; this compacts the flour and you can end up with up to 25% more flour then the recipe calls for. The preferred method of measurement is to “fluff” the flour with a large spoon and then spoon and sweep the flour into the measuring cup. Tap gently to remove the largest air pockets and then level off. I guarantee you, I’ll haunt you now if you merely scoop your measuring cup in there, you’ll think of me…fluff, spoon, sweep, tap, level. Got it? Fluff, spoon, sweep, tap level…by George, you’ve got it!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (just a note here, I ALWAYS use ultra-fine sugar in my baking)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (do NOT use imitation vanilla, PUH LEESE)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup (a little heaped is a good thing here) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (as above, be generous) milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup (it bears repeating) white chocolate chips
1/2 cup (and…one more time…be generous) coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
For drizzle: 2 ounces milk chocolate or white chocolate chips (or a combination, measured and drizzled separately)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
By the way, another tip, I use parchment paper for ALL of my cookie baking now. AND, I invested in some dual layer high end cookie sheets a couple of years ago (from KAF, where else?) and I can’t rave enough about them. No more unevenly baked cookies, no more burned edges. No more flattened out to “cookie wafer” thin cookie dough. Do yourself a favor, ask for these for Christmas and then, bar your family from EVER using them for anything other then cookie baking (no arts and crafts projects, no candle making, and they are NEVER EVER to find their way into the garage for some “work table” project) Oh, and one other tip (sorry, I’m on a roll); do not EVER take the cookie sheet from the oven, remove the cookies and then promptly spoon another batch of batter onto a hot cookie sheet! Let the cookie sheet cool slightly, wipe with a cool damp rag if you must (but don’t just flush it with cool water, you’ll end up with a warped sheet) and make sure that the sheet is cool to the touch before spooning on the next batch; this is why you need at least two cookie sheets, one in the oven, working its magic, the other cooling.
Wisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer (no, you can’t have mine), beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in all choclate chips and cranberries.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls (I absolutely LOVE my mini scoop for cookie dough; perfectly measured and shaped cookie dough blobs every time…oops, is Fae’s OCD rubbing off on me?) onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown. Now, listen here…for me, the time can very between 14.5 minutes and 15.5 minutes (because my chips are usually kept in the freezer, the first couple of batches of cookies take a bit longer then the last batch or two that have reached room temperature). Start peeking at 14.5 minutes. Remove from oven when edges are light brown. Cool on sheets 5 minutes (do it! It allows the cookies to “finish”). Transfer to rack; cool completely.
Place white chocolate and milk chocolate chips in separate heavy duty ziplock baggies OR a disposable pastry bag. Melt one of the bags of chips in the microwave. I use a low power level (approximately 30%) for about one minute and adjust time accordingly in 30 second intervals until chips are just melted. Snip a tiny corner from the bag and, holding the bag well above the cookies, squeeze and sweep the bag, drizzling the chocolate over the entire batch. Repeat with the other bag of chips. let stand until chocolate sets, at least one hour. Store in airtight container. Voila! Guaranteed to satisfy the chocoholic in all of your friends and family.