Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sweets for Your Sweetie: Cranberry-Orange & White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, I'm down to 253.  So I am officially 39 lbs down since my surgery almost two years ago.  It's been a long tough road of learning what healthy eating is, and how to change my perspective about the way I eat and the way my body processing things.

So now that I've gotten that out of the way, allow me to show you what an indulgence looks like:

This is not your ordinary average cranberry cookie that you've no doubt seen all Christmas long. Oh, no.  This is a collision of three different flavors that somehow, by the goodness of Mother Nature, blend together in a sublime pop of deliciousness the moment it is crushed between your molars.

^^flair for the dramatic.

The first thing you must do is soak about 3/4 c. of Ocean Spray Craisins (or other dried cranberries).  Soak them, you say?
Now that I have your attention...

Soak the dried cranberries in 1/3 cup of Orange liqueur.  This can be Curaçao, Patron Citronge (my favorite), Grand Marnier, Cointreau, et al.  Soak them overnight if you can...but if you can't, then cook them in the liqueur in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds, then let sit for two hours.  You will need to drain them just before using.

The reason you are soaking them is twofold:

1. to plump them up
2. to give them flavor

They will NOT taste like alcohol.  I promise.  The alcohol evaporates during the overnight soaking, and the baking process helps with that as well.

In a medium bowl, stir together:

1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Set flour mixture aside.

In a larger bowl, cream 1/2 cup of butter until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes on medium). 
Add 1/2 c. sugar, and 1/2 c. light brown sugar
Add 1 tsp. vanilla
Add 1 egg
Add 2 tsp. orange zest (approx. 2 med oranges' worth)

Mix until blended. 

Slowly add flour mixture until incorporated, then add:

1 c. uncooked oats (Quaker, etc)
the soaked & drained Craisins
5-6 oz white chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli)

stir or mix until incorporated.

Using a level scoop (I use the medium scoop from Pampered Chef but you can also use 2 level T. for each cookie), space cookies 2" apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or using a silpat.

Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 10-12 minutes. Yield is about 28 decent-sized cookies.

Cool on a rack and then put in a super duper cute box with ribbon, a mini galvanized pail, or kraft paper bag and give away as gifts to teachers, hubbies, ungrateful children, etc!  Me, I gave some to my daughter's bus drivers as a surprise treat. Save some for yourself, too.  Gotta be sweet to yourself, right?

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