Cranberry Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Macadamia nut shortbread

Hello everyone! I hope this new year brings you much happiness. I’ve been taking it so easy these days that I almost missed posting a recipe for this month! I made these shortbread cookies for part of my annual holiday cookies and fudge gift boxes last month. But you don’t need a special occasion to make these. Any day is a good day for cookies! This recipe makes 24 cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl (mix together until creamy.)
  3. Add flour 1 cup at a time until all of the flour is well incorporated with the butter and sugar.
  4. Mix in white chocolate, cranberries and macadamia nuts. The dough will be very thick.
  5. Form 1 1/2 inch balls (flatten them if you wish) and place them on cookies sheets. NOTE: These cookies do not expand so you can place them about one inch apart.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes (for moist center) or until you see the edges turning brown. Cook 12 minutes if you like a harder shortbread cookie.
  7. Let cool on cookie racks and store in air tight containers.

Apple Cranberry Stuffing

Apple Cranberry Stuffing

When you have a big family dinner planned it’s hard to give all your dishes your full attention. So take help where you can, and go the semi homade route. This quick recipe is an excellent side dish and if you substitute the chicken stock for vegetable stock it can be vegetarian too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 stick of butter or 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red or yellow onion, chooped
  • 1 package  (6 ounces) Ocean Spray Craisins® (dried cranberries)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 package (14 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing mix
  • Poultry seasoning optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350°F degrees.
  2. Heat the butter or oil in a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat.
  3.  Add the apples, celery and onion and cook for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the stock to the saucepan and heat to a boil.
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  6. Add the stuffing and dried cranberries and mix lightly.
  7. Add additional poultry seasoning to taste. (This is optional, as the stuffing mix is already seasoned.)  Spoon the stuffing mixture into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.  Cover the baking dish with foil.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until the stuffing mixture is hot. (For crunchier stuffing, bake uncovered.)

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

I had planned to make nine different cookies for my Christmas goodie boxes this year. But getting sick right before Christmas ruined my plans. I was able to make four differents cookies but I had to stop there. My ambition was there, but my energy level was exhausted by then. Since I had a ton of extra chocolates not being used now, I  decided to try my hand at making a chocolate bark. Surprisingly simple to make and quite tasty to boot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided (1 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, place dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Microwave on half power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each time, until melted.
  3. Place white chocolate chips in a separate bowl with remaining coconut oil. Repeat microwave directions until chips are melted.
  4. Spread dark chocolate out on prepared sheet pan. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 1
  5. Drizzle white chocolate over dark chocolate. Use a butter knife and drag through drizzles to make a pretty pattern. (Yeah, I know mine isn’t dragged or pretty. But I was sick!)Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 2
  6. Sprinkle with pistachios and dried cranberries. Chill until hardened. Break into small pieces and serve. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 3

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

Did you get a chance to see my Sugared Cranberries recipe? Well, here is where I used some of mine.  They paired well with my white chocolate cream cheese frosting on top of the cranberry poke cupcakes. I tried these out on my family at Thanksgiving. They were well received. If you can’t find cranberry Jello gelatin, substitute with raspberry Jello gelatin. And if you prefer to use a shortcut, just use a box of your favorite white cake mix. I won’t tell. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened (Do not soften in microwave)
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cranberry JELL-O gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 package (6oz total) Baker’s White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Add cupcake liners to cupcake pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, almond extract, milk, & sour cream. Whisk until blended & set aside.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt) in the mixer for 30 seconds so the baking powder and salt will be well incorporated into the flour and sugar.
  4. Slowly add the pieces of butter a few at a time while the mixer is on medium speed. Beat for approximately 1 minute or until the dry ingredients are crumbly and moistened by the butter, giving it the look of coarse sand. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. It is important to SLOWLY add approx. 1/2 of the egg mixture with the mixer on very low speed then increasing to medium speed for 1½ minutes — the batter will be thick and fluffy. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, scraping the bowl and beating for 20 seconds after each addition. It is now ready to pour into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Pierce tops of cupcakes with fork immediately after cooking.
  7. Combine boiling water with JELL-O gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Spoon gently over cupcakes, allowing to sink into fork holes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sugared cranberries.

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcake

Sugared Cranberries

Sugared Cranberries

Hello everyone! It’s officially the holiday season once again. It’s also my favorite time of the year for baking and cooking. I thought I’d start off with something really easy to make. Sugared cranberries are great for garnishing your desserts or dessert trays or even as a sweet and sour treat all on it’s own.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar divided (2 cups & 1 cup)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine 2 cups of sugar with the 2 cups water in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Do not bring to a boil!
  2. Remove from heat as soon as sugar is dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, add cranberries. Top with the sugar syrup you just made and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight is best.
  4. After your cranberries have soaked, drain off syrup completely and allow to sit in strainer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Pour remaining  1 cup of sugar in a gallon Ziploc bag.  Add cranberries and shake until all cranberries have been well coated.
  6. Empty contents of bag onto a wire rack (with pan or foil underneath to catch excess sugar.)
  7. Let cranberries dry for at least an hour.
  8. Store in refrigerator until ready to use as garnish.

Sugared Cranberries Close Up

Olive Oil Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries

olive-oil-oatmeal-cookieI know what you are thinking. “What?! Joann is not fattening us up with butter in her cookies like always?” No worries. I made these more out of curiosity rather than trying to be more health conscious. And actually, these were not bad at all. They turned out sweet, savory and moist all in one.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries or raisins)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Mix together olive oil, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large mixing bowl until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, cloves and nutmeg.
  4. Add flour mixture, rolled oats and dried cranberries to olive oil mixture.
  5. Drop in tablespoon balls on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Let cool at least 3 minutes before transferring to baking rack to completely cool.
  8. This recipe yielded 32 cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Holiday Explosion Cookies

xmas-explosion-cookiesOkay, technically these are my Holiday Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. But they are amped up to be even more festive and more chocolatey. How can you resist three types of chocolate chips, sweet cranberries, holiday M&M’s and holiday sprinkles?! I know I can’t. Make a batch of these for your favorite little elves and don’t forget about Santa.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup red and green holiday M&M’s
  • 1/2 cup red and green holiday sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 large baking sheets with non stick baking mats or use parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Using a mixer, combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stirring until just combined.
  7. Add the dried cranberries/cherries, the 3 types of chocolate chips, M&M’s and holiday sprinkles to the mixture.
  8. Mix manually with a wooden spoon until all are combined.xmas-explosion-cookies-2
  9. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
  10. Bake until light golden brown and just set, 8-10 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These cookies can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. This recipe yields about 24 -30 cookies. 

  1. xmas-explosion-cookies-1