Wednesday 28 November 2007

it's beginning to taste a lot like christmas

Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I fully admit, I'm not terribly adept at baking. Baking requires precision and the ability to pay close attention to the recipe. I tend to cook by taste, I get bored and my mind starts to wander when I read lengthy instructions (which is why I can never edit my own writing at work), and I'm prone to deviating from the recipe. To add to the frustration, I always need to set the temperature on my oven lower to than indicated in the recipe because its thermometer must be out of whack, and it cooks things on the edges much more quickly than in the middle. It makes for some interestingly-shaped Yorkie puds. There are so many ways in which baking can go wrong. This is why I stick to the easy stuff.

As we approach the Christmas season, I feel the urge to bake. The warmth of the oven, the smell of something sweet baking, sitting on the sofa under a big duvet and stuffing my face with whatever came out of the oven...the perfect cure for winter. So this year, the Christmas season has begun with cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies courtesy of Nigella Lawson's book "Feast." They're good for you because they've got nuts, dried fruit, and oats in them. They are so.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

140g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g rolled oats
125g soft unsalted butter
75g dark sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
75g dried cranberries
50g pecans roughly chopped
140g white chocolate chips*
*(I used two Green and Black's white chocolate bars chopped into small chunks)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Measure out flour, baking powder and rolled oats into a bowl.

Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat together until creamy then beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture and then fold in the cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips or white chocolate, chopped into small dice. Set the bowl of biscuit dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball with your hands, and then place them on a lined or greased baking tray, and squish the dough balls down with a fork. Cook for 15 minutes, when ready, the cookies will be tinged a pale gold, but be too soft to lift immediately off the tray, so leave the tray on a cool surface and let them harden for 5 minutes. Remove with a spatula or whatever to cool fully on a wire rack.

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