Cranberry Christmas Cookies

Ahhhh Christmas, that joyous season in which we deceive ourselves into thinking this will be the year that we will actually DO all the seasonal things that we associate with this lovely holiday.  If you’re anything like us, sometime in…oh September or so you start to envision how wonderful it will be when you get to the holidays.  Maybe you can relate to a vision that looks something like this:

It is the last week of November, and you have just completed all of your Christmas shopping and gift wrapping (packed perfectly in homemade paper which your friends will “ooohh” and “ahh” at, obviously).  Every single gift is the most thoughtful and personalized gift and you smile to yourself just thinking about the fun it will be watch your family unwrap these beautiful gifts.  Then of course, since you were so timely with your shopping and you obviously have no other commitments to your job or your family or your friends or your side job or your dog or your workout routine or ANYTHING else in life… naturally you will spend the rest of December smiling (because smiling is your favorite) and sitting under the glow of the Christmas tree as you sip spiked hot chocolate and watch every Christmas movie ever made.  You will also obviously also have time to schedule and plan the most elaborate and festive holiday party where everyone will look like a movie star all dressed in red and sequins and you will bake the most festive cookies, serve the most delectable and gourmet hors’d oeuvres, and whip up elaborate holiday themed cocktails that you created in all of your spare time (which you somehow miraculously have loads of in December). Everyone will have so much fun, and isn’t Christmas just the best!??!?

Snap back to reality (oh there goes gravity) and it’s halfway through December already. You luckily did throw a Facebook invite out to your friends, because back in September with your rose colored glasses on there was nothing you couldn’t achieve at Christmas time! The party you scheduled is sitting on your calendar on the one weekend you’re home and you don’t need to be out frantically Christmas shopping (because, no, you did NOT finish finding your perfect suite of Christmas gifts by the last week of November), or traveling for work, or running errands, or fixing your car, or visiting family, or keeping up with laundry, exercise, or your usual errands.

So that date is looming in front of you on your calendar and you’ve done no planning. You find yourself checking the Facebook invite and thinking, “maybe no one even RSVPd.  I could always cancel it. There’s always next year…. Oh shoot… 22 guests replied “yes”…….” 

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SO, if this is where you find yourself – amidst the craziness that is Christmas – rest assured, so do we.  And since we didn’t have a weekend open for a holiday party (and OH how we would have loved to.. have I ever mentioned we love to host?!) we will live vicariously through YOU, you little party animal!  Today we’re sharing the perfect Christmas cookie recipe for your holiday party.  You can just mooch this straight away without a care in the world.  I picked this specific recipe because these cookies are amazing (SO soft on the inside and so perfectly chewy on the outside with a little bit of tart from the cranberry to balance the smooth white chocolate) AND because they’re REALLY easy.  Believe me, I don’t want to add to your stress :) Read on for our perfectly soft cranberry white chocolate cookies.

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Everyday Urban Cranberry Christmas Cookies

These easy drop cookies are such a perfect cookie for holiday parties. Why? Because they’re low stress for you (no refrigerating and rolling and cutting and decorating), they’re beautiful for guests to look at with the cranberries sprinkled throughout, and they’re soft and chewy in a way that most Christmas cookies aren’t.  I’ve tried quite a few cranberry white chocolate chip cookie recipes… ultimately I made some changes to the recipes I had been working from in the past to make this recipe extra soft and extra chewy. The addition of the egg yolk and a slightly higher butter content than most similar recipes is what gives this one an edge. I also use VERY little sugar in the dough compared to other recipes I’ve found, because I find that the white chocolate chips are more than sweet enough for the recipe. I hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients:

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup dark brown sugar (Note: if using light brown just flip the sugar ratios to ¾ cup brown and ½ cup granulated)

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt (Note: I personally like my sweets to be decently well salted, to bring out the other flavors. I would advise up to 1 tsp of salt but you can go as low as ½tsp with good results)

1 ½ cups dried cranberries

¾ cup white chocolate chips (Note: Add up to 1 ¼ cup of chips if desired. For my personal taste they’re too sweet to add any more of J)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat 5 more seconds. Add eggs and yolk one at a time and incorporate fully before the adding the next.  Separately combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gently stir dry ingredients into wet. Fold in cranberries and white chocolate chips. Dollop onto baking sheets and bake for about 12 mintues.  Cookies should look very slightly golden on top but very soft in the middle when removed from the oven.  Wait for 3-5 minutes before transferring to another plate to allow the cookies to firm up.