White Chocolate Strawberry Cookies

This time I wanted to do something a little different with my leftover strawberries. Normally I make some sort of loaf but I was intrigued by the thought of making strawberry cookies, something I’d never done before. I have to say it was a learning experience, and a very good one I might add.

I’ve always found strawberries to be tricky in the baking process. They add additional moisture when baking and that can play havoc on your end result especially if you live in high altitude like I do. But I’ve had enough disasters along the way that I say with great confidence that I think I’ve finally got baking with strawberries down pat. So lets talk white chocolate strawberry cookies…

cut strawberriesLesson Learned 1 – Follow these basic tips for baking with strawberries: Strawberries give off moisture when they bake and that can make the consistency of the batter too runny and result in a baking disaster. I’ve learned a few simple tips along the way that will help you be successful when baking with strawberries. First, prep the strawberries the very first thing. Cut them into smaller rather than larger pieces. Sprinkle the strawberries with a tiny, tiny bit of lemon juice, place them in a colander over a bowl and allow them to shed some excess moisture. Normally you add strawberries at the end of a recipe. Prepping them at the beginning gives them plenty of time to shed some of that excess moisture.

Before you add them to a batter sprinkle them with a little flour and make sure all of the berries are lightly coated. That way the flour will continue to absorb moisture and the berries will not all clump together in the baking process. If you are making a strawberry bread, sprinkling them with a little flour before adding them to the batter will prevent all the strawberries from sinking to the bottom of the bread. Try these few tips and you should be successful baking with strawberries.

Lesson Learned 2 – This is a very moist batter: The consistency of this batter is very moist. Once you make it I recommend you put it in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. That way it will be a little easier to work with. Even after you refrigerate it the batter will still be moist as is evidenced by the picture below. Don’t worry, the cookies will not run. They will hold shape and turn out to be a delightful cookie!

Cookie dough before baking

Lesson Learned 3 – The consistency of this cookie is more like a cake than a cookie: Initially I wasn’t sure how these cookies would turn out based on the moistness of the batter. To my surprise and delight they were like small heavenly bites of cake. The cookies are soft and delightful, very different from the consistency of say a chocolate chip cookie. And the white chocolate chips divinely compliment the flavor of the cookie. I brought these to work and they disappeared within one hour.

White Chocolate Strawberry CookiesLesson Learned 4 – For extra decadence try drizzling some melted white chocolate over the top of the cookies: This time when I made these cookies I didn’t think to do this. The amount of white chocolate you use making this recipe does not use up the entire bag. Why not melt the remainder of the chocolate and drizzle it over the cookies after they cool? Next time I most certainly will do this. I can’t believe I didn’t think about doing this when I first made them. Oh well, live and learn…

This recipe is a delightful change to traditional cookies that are often hard and crunchy. The combination of strawberries and white chocolate is to die for. I also like the fact that this recipe only makes about two dozen cookies so it is a manageable amount for family and friends. And as always I recommend you try this recipe and tell me what you think…

WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY COOKIES...

  • Servings: 2 Dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

White Chocolate Strawberry Cookies1 1/4 cups flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. table salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 chopped strawberries, drained

2 tsp. lemon juice (1/2 – 1 small lemon juiced)

1 – 2 Tbs. flour, for dusting the strawberries

5 oz. white chocolate chips, chopped (I recommend using a mini food processor to chop them)

White chocolate chips, melted –  to drizzle over the cooled cookies (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.  Chop the strawberries, place them in a colander and sprinkle them with the lemon juice. Set them aside and allow them to drain.

Whisk together the dry ingredients – the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Do not over mix.

Stir in the chopped chocolate. Sprinkle the strawberries with flour and toss them so they all are coated with a thin layer of the flour. Carefully fold the strawberries into the batter.

Place the batter in the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes.

Once slightly chilled, make the cookies by dropping a heaping tablespoon of the batter on the baking sheet leaving approximately an inch between each cookie. (I recommend no more than a dozen cookies per baking sheet). Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.

Let the cookies cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Once the cookies are cooled, put the remaining white chocolate chips in a microwaveable dish and microwave  on high for about 10 – 15 seconds. Stir the chips until melted. (Microwave at 5 second intervals after this if the chips need to be heated through a little more. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate). Place the chocolate in a gallon size bag. Cut the end of the bag (make sure the cut is small) and use it as a pastry bag to drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookies.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cookies

White chocolate Strawberry Cookies

 

 

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies…

Cranberry oatmeal cookies have been a staple in our family for the last five years. I was looking for something completely different from what I traditionally made for the holidays and found this recipe in the 2008 Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Bars holiday magazine. At the time the magazine cost me $9.99 and I thought that was pretty pricey. But I can now without hesitation say that it was the best money I ever spent. That magazine is my go to place for holiday cookie ideas and it has a wealth of cookie recipes, many that have become our holiday favorites and many still needing to be tried. The magazine is a compilation of recipes from different people around the country and the editors did an excellent job of choosing fabulous recipes.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Initially I made these cookies just because I liked the way the picture looked in the magazine. I was not prepared for how delicious they would be. A co-worker recently described their flavor as being close to a Starbuck’s cranberry orange scone with a bonus of white chocolate chips. I think she hit it on the head. Not only are they easy to make but they look colorful on a dessert tray. Here is my rating and lessons learned making these cookies.

Rating: A+++++ – once again this cookie is one of our all time holiday favorites. How could I rate it any less?

Lesson Learned 1: Use golden raisins in this recipe. The recipe does not specify what type of raisins to use but I found the dark raisins create a less colorful and vibrant looking cookie, and after all you eat first with your eyes, remember? Make sure the raisins are fresh. Don’t use the box that’s been sitting in your pantry for six months. As with any ingredient, the fresher the better but especially with raisins.

Lesson Learned 2: Put in a healthy tablespoonful of grated orange peel. I used the grated peel of two large oranges. Don’t skimp on this. The flavor of the orange peel so compliments the tartness of the cranberry and the sweetness of the white chocolate. Use more than less.

Lesson Learned 3: These cookies keep well both in the refrigerator and the freezer so these are great make ahead cookies.

I guarantee that you will love these cookies. They are easy to make, easy to store and add a nice colorful holiday flair to your cookie assortment.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 4 dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unsalted butter softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup raisins

1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries (you can you frozen ones but I prefer fresh)

1 TBS. grated orange peel

1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time beating until well combined. Beat in the vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins, cranberries and orange peel. Add the white chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (I use a cookie scoop) 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Enjoy!

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies…

The second favorite cookie in my recent posts on Facebook was the Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookie. I’ve been making this cookie for the past six years and it has risen to the list of the big three must-bake every year holiday cookies (the other two being chocolate chip cookies and the chocolate dipped sugar cookies, soon to be featured in future blogs). I like this particular cookie for several reasons: one it is easy to make, two it has three kinds of chocolate in it and three it has a great consistency that leaves you asking the question am I eating a cookie or a brownie.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

The recipe comes from a magazine I purchased in 2008 called “Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies & Bars.” This magazine was definitely worth the money because it also provided the recipe for another one of my holiday staples, the cranberry oatmeal cookie (also to be featured in a later blog). I like this recipe because not only does the finished product look and taste so darn good but it keeps well in the freezer so it is a great make-ahead cookie. That being said, let’s move on to my rating and lessons learned.

RATING: A++++++++++++ This cookie is one of my big three holiday must-bake recipes so I will give you a clue and tell you that all three will have the same rating. Easy to make, great visual appeal and leaves you wondering whether you’ve just had a cookie or a brownie. Top that off with three different types of chocolate used in the recipe and tell me, how can you go wrong?

Lesson Learned 1: Make sure you cool the melted butter and unsweetened chocolate before beating it with the sugar and eggs. If you don’t you will wind up with scrambled eggs.

Lesson Learned 2: Use a cookie scoop (a small ice-cream scoop) to portion out the cookie dough. That way you have the same amount and don’t have to worry about having some cookies baking faster than others. Spray the inside of the scoop with some non-stick spray when you first start out and then wash it out after every completed baking sheet. That way you won’t struggle as much with getting the batter out of the scoop. It will stick somewhat, but having even amounts of batter on the cookie sheet is worth it.

Lesson Learned 3: Don’t over-bake the cookies. The cookies will be robust in the center and they are supposed to be that way. The cookies are done when the edges are set and the tops are slightly cracked. They are designed to have a doughy consistency.

Lesson Learned 4: You don’t need any special utensil to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Use an ordinary quart-sized plastic bag, insert it into a tall drinking glass, pour the melted chocolate and shortening mixture into the bag and squeeze it down to one of the tips of the bag. Twist the top portion of the bag and snip a very, very small portion of the tip. Then just drizzle what comes out free-armed over the cookies. As you can see from the pictures, the back and forth pattern really gives a professional finishing touch to the cookies.

Just like the Raspberry Walnut Bars from my previous blog, this recipe is so easy to make and produces a professional looking end product. I like this recipe because of the consistency of the finished product that often has people asking if they are eating a cookie or a brownie. Plus it really appeals to the chocolate lovers out there and tell me, how many non-chocolate lovers do you know? Try making these cookies during this holiday season and see if it doesn’t quickly becoming one of your holiday must-bake traditions.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup butter cubed

4 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided

2 teaspoons shortening

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 350. In a small saucepan over low heat melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate; cool. Transfer to a large mixing bowl; add sugar and eggs. Beat until smooth. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the chocolate mixture. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until the dough is easy to handle.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets (or you can line your baking sheets with parchment paper). Bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are set and tops are slightly cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat shortening and remaining chocolate chips on high for 1 minute or until chips are melted; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Let stand for 30 minutes (or pop them in the freezer for about 5 minutes) until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container. These cookies freeze well so they are a great make-ahead cookie.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies