November 16, 2007

Fresh Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (with a tasty chocolate chip surprise!)

1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup semisweet mini chips
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper*. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in cranberries** and chips. Place 1 tablespoon sized blobs of dough on the cookie sheet (about 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look "set" and the bottoms are just brown. Carefully, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

*I've gotten some questions regarding parchment paper. To answer: yes, it is worth it. Repeat after me: "no clean up".

**The cranberries might pop as you mix them in and make a scary sound. That's okay, it doesn't matter if they are whole anyway.

My thoughts:

I had some cranberries, 1 1/2 cups actually, leftover from making sauce and thought about making cookies. I did some searching and actually couldn't find more than a couple (frankly, unappetizing) cookie recipes that used fresh cranberries. I am no stranger to baking with fresh cranberries, having made more muffins, bread, pancakes, crisps, and cakes than I can list here, so I found this odd. Dried cranberries might have the leg up because they are shelf stable and available year 'round but what about those months when you can use fresh cranberries? Do they not deserve cookies? I briefly wondered if there might be a reason why people aren't making cookies with fresh cranberries but quickly dismissed it. All I needed was about 25 minutes and I'd have my answer, so why not experiment. And I am glad I did. Using fresh cranberries totally works! Of course, this is not a overly sweet cookie (although I was so excited about finding mini chips at the store*** yesterday, I tossed some in) due to the tart nature of the cranberry but sweet enough. And if you close your eyes and take a bite, between all the cranberries and the oatmeal, you can almost think of them as good for you.

***Hershey's semisweet mini chips, which like it seems with all mini chips, are notoriously hard to find. If you're local, Mars is a stronghold. Beyond that I buy them at Chocolate World. Guittard makes mini chips too or so I hear, but they aren't available locally. You can substitute regular sized chips, but the mini ones are great, a tiny burst of chocolate in every bite, without being overpowering.