Monday, March 25, 2013

Merry Easter & chewy cranberry chocolate cookies

Aah, the holiday spirit!  Streets covered by a white fluffy blanket, snowflakes dancing playfully in the air, frosty wind biting you in the nose and cheeks, and colorful store window decorations announcing the holiday season.  ♫ It's beginning to look a lot like Christm... ♫ NO, WAIT A MINUTE!  It's not December, but nearly April!  

Spring has officially -- or at least theoretically -- started, and we shouldn't be listening to the jingle bells ring, but rather make sure we have enough chocolate eggs in store.  Nonetheless, somehow I am more inclined to go Christmas tree shopping than to pick up some fresh daffodils to decorate my house for the upcoming celebrations.

I don't remember it ever being so cold during Easter time.  Certainly not in the US, not in Belgium or the Netherlands -- not even in Poland.  Clearly I am not the only one who is surprised by this cold spell, as lately weather is literally the only thing people can talk -- or in fact complain -- about.  

You hear it on the news, read it online, talk about it with your colleagues while getting coffee, or use it as a solid conversation starter during conference calls.  Hell -- even the people you meet in the elevator (that usually seem particularly intrigued by their shoes and keep staring at them -- barely noticing you) become disturbingly chatty and complain about yet another snowfall last night.

I decided to make the most of it by posting this great cranberry chocolate cookies recipe.  Theoretically, these cookies fit better in the Christmas season than Easter, but when you look outside the window it is really hard to tell one from the other.  Besides -- who is to say you can only bake Christmas cookies during Christmas?

Call me eccentric (the more diplomatic word for "nuts"), but I often like to do things that normally would be considered unfitting for the circumstances at hand.  Singing Christmas carols while sunbathing near a pool in mid-August, eating ice-cream during a walk in a snow storm or starting a meal with dessert.  It's not that I don't like singing carols at Christmas time. It's just that I like singing them so-oo much, that I can't wait a whole year before I can do it again.  And why would I?

Similarly -- why would you wait with baking these cookies until next December?

And they are totally worth it!  The cookies are as good as oatmeal cookies can be.  Tangy from the cranberries, sweet and luscious from the milk chocolate, incredibly chewy and finished off with crispy almond flakes.  Let's not forget the cinnamon flavor that will fill your entire house when you're baking these. Mmm - holidays in your kitchen!

So go ahead and have yourself a merry little cookie!

The recipe comes from Dorotus' blog, slightly modified (mainly through the addition of almonds, and increasing the amount of cranberries).

  • 170 g of flour
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 140 g of oats
  • 150 g of butter (soft, at room temperature)
  • 150 g of light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 180 g of fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 200 g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 70 g of almond flakes
For the decoration:
  • 70 g of milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 50 g of almond flakes
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).  Line 2 cookie trays with parchment paper.  
  • Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.  Add the oats and combine.  Set aside.
  • Mix the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla extract.  Add the egg and mix again.
  • Add the butter mixture to the flower mixture, combine.  Add the chopped cranberries, chocolate and almonds, combine.
  • Scoop small amounts of the dough on the baking tray, leaving enough space between the cookies as they will melt and expand.  
  • Bake for around 15 minutes, checking often towards the end to see if the cookies don't burn.  Let cool on the tray.
  • Melt the chocolate au bain marie (over a pan with boiling water).  Toss the almond in a dry hot frying pan for 30 second or until golden.
  • Decorate cookies with the chocolate and sprinkle with almonds.

Bon appetit!

1 comment: