Cranberry, Orange & White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberries are one of my favourite ingredients to bake with during the holidays because of the tart flavour and festive pop of colour they add to baked goodies. These drop cookies are a great make-ahead holiday treat because you can freeze the unbaked balls of dough and just pop them into the oven when you need them. I store my cookie dough in plastic freezer bags for up to three months. Frozen cookie dough needs about one or two extra minutes of baking time, depending on your oven. I used white chocolate chips in this recipe, but milk or dark chocolate chips are just as delicious. Pecans taste great in this cookie too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and coat baking sheets with nonstick spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar.
  3. Add the egg and mix until combined.
  4. Next, add the orange zest and vanilla extract.
  5. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  7. Form dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes. Do not overbake if you want cookies to stay chewy!

Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

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Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Cookies

I think salt is one of the most under-appreciated ingredients in baking. It serves several purposes in recipes — but its most magical function is its ability to enhance the depth and flavour of the other ingredients in your mixing bowl. Salt is especially important in sugar-heavy recipes, such as frostings, because it really helps to balance the sweetness; I almost exclusively use salted butter when making icing for my cupcakes. I also like to sprinkle a little sea salt on my chocolate chip cookies. It’s amazing how the sea salt flakes make all the other flavours pop. These Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate cookies use salted butter and are sprinkled with a finishing touch of sea salt flakes. Don’t worry about ending up with a too salty cookie; the sea salt flakes are quite delicate and really enhance the sweetness of the caramel and smoky dark chocolate.

 Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel bits
  • Maldon or sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir together until almost fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and caramel bits and stir until blended.
  5. Shape spoonfuls of dough into balls and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. You can press a few chocolate chips and caramel bits into the top of each cookie — it just makes them look prettier. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the cookie dough balls.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Don’t overbake if you want them to be soft and chewy!

*Yield: Approximately 20-22 cookies

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Fig, Walnut & Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This is a classed-up version of my  Big and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies. The chopped up figs practically melt into these cookies as they bake, creating a sticky sweetness that pairs beautifully with the smoky molasses. The addition of dark chocolate adds even more sophistication to an otherwise humble cookie, while the walnuts add texture and crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup dried figs, chopped
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray baking sheets with non-stick spray.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla and molasses. Mix until combined.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Beat until fully incorporated.
  6. Add the oats, figs, walnuts and chocolate.
  7. Roll generous 1/4 cup measures of dough into balls (you can use a medium- sized ice cream scoop for this.) Place two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. You can press a few chocolate chunks into the tops of the cookies before baking — it makes them look prettier.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

*Yield: Approximately 18 large cookies

 


Italian Hazelnut Cookies

Italy is one of the biggest producers of hazelnuts in the world. It’s no wonder this nut features quite prominently in many Italian desserts. This recipe is a hazelnut version of my Italian Almond Cookies. With their crunchy exterior and soft, tender centre, these cookies are perfect with your afternoon espresso.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp hazelnut extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups hazelnut flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • whole hazelnuts, for garnish

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease baking sheets with non stick spray.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, hazelnut flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugars and oil.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Next, add the hazelnut extract.
  5. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until fully combined. This is a relatively soft cookie dough.
  6. Form the dough into balls and roll into the powdered sugar. Place about two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Press a hazelnut into the centre of each cookie.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
  8. Store completely cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to one week. These hazelnut cookies freeze extremely well. They can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.

*Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

 


Milk Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

Brownie cookies have become a bit of an obsession for me lately. They’re the perfect cross between a fudgy brownie and a dense chocolate chip cookie. This brownie cookie has a milk chocolate base and is studded with roasted, salted pistachios. It’s a delicious flavour combination — and the green pistachios contrast beautifully with the chocolate-brown cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup salted pistachios, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease baking sheets with non-stick spray.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and one cup of the chocolate chips. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy. This may take several minutes.
  4. Reduce speed to low and very slowly pour in the melted chocolate mixture.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and pistachios.
  7. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes. This is a relatively soft cookie dough and it will be very difficult to form into balls unless it has been chilled. Do not skip this step!
  8. Roll chilled dough into balls and place at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle a few chopped pistachios on top.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

*Yield: 24 cookies

 


Chocolate Espresso Brownie Cookies with Sea Salt

If Charlie Hunnam was a cookie this would be it. These are the perfect cross between a soft-baked chocolate chip cookie and an ooey-gooey brownie. The sea salt and espresso in this recipe enhance the deep chocolate flavour and strike the perfect balance of sweetness with just a touch of salty. This is one sexy cookie!

(P.S. If you don’t know who Charlie Hunnam is, do yourself a favour and Google image him. You’re welcome.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2  cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease baking sheets with non-stick spray.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and one cup of the chocolate chips. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs, sugar and espresso powder until very light and fluffy.  This may take several minutes.
  4. Reduce speed to low and very slowly pour in the melted chocolate mixture.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
  7. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes.  This is a relatively soft cookie dough and it will be very difficult to form into balls unless it has been chilled.  Do not skip this step!
  8. Roll chilled dough into balls and place at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Top with a few chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

*Yield: 24 cookies


Glazed Almond Ricotta Cookies

I love almond flavoured desserts. When I was a little girl, I was always fascinated by the perfectly-shaped and decorated marzipan fruit at the local Italian bakery.  I would glue my forehead to the glass window, just delighted by how closely the miniature marzipan fruit resembled the real thing. My dad would always buy me one…and I loved every almond-flavoured bite. When I last visited Sicily, I saw the most life-like frutta martorana — traditional hand-painted marzipan sweets — in the window of a bakery in Taormina. The artistry of these bakers is incredible. These soft, cake-like cookies have a very delicate almond and orange flavour. The orange glaze adds a nice citrusy pop, but you can also serve them with just a light dusting of powdered sugar.

 Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds or almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp juice and zest from 1 orange
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • one 300g container of ricotta (about 2 cups)

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp orange juice
  • slivered almonds, for decorating (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and grease baking sheets with non stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and mix until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the ricotta, orange juice, zest and almond extract.  Mix well.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients.
  7. Roll the dough into balls and bake for 15 minutes. Cool cookies completely before glazing.
  8. To make the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar and the orange juice. The glaze should be fairly thick so it doesn’t just run off the cookies. If your glaze is too thin, you can thicken it up by adding a little extra powdered sugar. Use the back of a spoon or a small off-set spatula to spread the glaze over the cookies. Allow the glaze to set for at least 3 hours before storing cookies in an air-tight container.

*Yield: Approximately 30 cookies 

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