I cannot really remember the day I baked these lovely goodies. Most probably it was sometime around mid-June, but somehow I never managed to write about them until now. Things recently have been busy and complicated, and now I’m dealing with grief. I wish the temperatures were still in the decent 20s. Celcius that is. It would have been easier to bake because I know that being in the kitchen often is good for me. If you set aside the eating part, which is something I love most obviously, the act of measuring out the ingredients, putting them all together and waiting patiently for the result takes away a big load of stress and anxiety which unfortunately has lately become part of my life. I am still cooking, well, somewhat; I don’t really know if making myself a green salad is actually cooking but baking is another matter and it’s what I like to do best.
One of the things I get asked for most by friends and family are good recipes for muffins. Now this is quite tricky for me because I’ve had my issues when it comes to baking the little beauties. I’m not referring to this recipe in particular – these have been a total success. I blame my inability to get used to different ovens quickly and efficiently. The oven in our flat in Woking was very powerful and loads of muffins were burnt! The one in Guildford had a smaller wattage (or whatever you call it) so things took longer to bake. Now I’ve returned to a gas oven and to test it I’m finding myself making loads of pizzas. Some have come out with black bottoms, whilst others have been spared, and ended up in our bellies.
So during the last few weeks I have had one main aim in life you might say, i.e. to use up all the food in my fridge and pantry. It’s the classic situation really, I’m always tempted to purchase one or two ingredients for a particular recipe. Then I end up with a gazillion packets of dried fruit and nuts. Now one thing which I absolutely hate is to throw away food. When it’s bad there’s no other option of course, but when it’s good then the possibilities are endless…well, that’s what I keep telling myself…and it’s true.
There’s no doubt that these cookies are delicious, if you like cranberries and white chocolate that is. I know that not everyone likes white chocolate, but I guess it would be easy to use milk or dark chocolate instead. This recipe comes from Nigella’s Christmas. I have thought about waiting until the holidays to include these lovely little bites here, but I couldn’t wait that long and really you can make them any time you want. (White chocolate and cranberries remind me of Christmas though.) I made these three times and when it comes to any kind of cookie it’s always a party especially for J (and if you know him then that goes without saying)!
Some notes before you start: the mixture yields around 30 small cookies or 15 large ones, depending what you prefer. I made the latter. No news there I’m sure! Also you could use less chocolate if you like, as I did the first time I made them. However it’s tricky to mess about with an already good recipe. You could leave out the salt though, which I did the third time round.
- 150g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 75g rolled oats (not instant)
- 125g butter, softened
- 75g dark brown sugar
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 75g dried cranberries
- 50g pecans, roughly chopped (works also with walnuts)
- 150g white chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat your oven to 180ºC/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the flour, baking powder, salt and oats in a large mixing bowl.
- In a medium-sized bowl place the soft butter and sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
- To the above mixture add all the ingredients in the large bowl, then fold in the dried cranberries, nuts and chocolate chunks.
- Using your hands roll the dough into roughly golf ball size and place them on the baking sheet. (You will need more than one tray to make the cookies in two or more batches). Push them down with a fork if you prefer.
- Bake the cookie dough for 15 minutes, and when done they will be too soft to lift from the tray so let them cool for around 5-10 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Then leave them to cool on a wire rack.
As in the previous cookie recipe, you can freeze the dough for up to three months so if you’re serving these at a party you can prepare them way ahead of time and bake them two days before. They are super easy to make so why don’t you give them a go?