Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dressed Up for the Holidays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist of Orange and Cranberry

Yesterday my daughter Katie made what looked like a typical batch of chocolate chip cookies. They were golden brown and loaded with chocolate chips, still warm and chewy when I walked into her house after working all day.  I have to tell you, it was a very welcoming aroma that greeted me when I opened her door.  But there was something different.  I don't know how many of you can resist a warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie, but I can't.  One bite and I knew this was a special cookie.  There was an essence of fresh oranges, and the tang of cranberry.  Combined with chocolate, it was DEVINE!  I thought, "OK, these are going on my cookie platters."  We have an abundance of Florida oranges to eat/juice/use up since Russ brought Katie and me each a case at Thanksgiving (thank you, Russ!).

You can make these cookies with your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or, as I encourage people to do if they're pressed for time, grab a quality mix like Krusteaz or Pillsbury and save yourself a little time.  That's an especially good idea for busy moms with two little ones like Katie who spends much of her time feeding 7-week old Peter and the rest of it building block towers with Henry.  Still, she found time to not only bake up a batch of cookies but also to make big, red ribbon bows to adorn each post of the 100-foot split rail fence that lines our driveway!  I was holding the baby as she headed into the night with a staple gun and an arm-full of bows.   Maybe it's her legal training, but when Katie wants to get something done, it happens, even when it's as basic as baking a batch of home-made cookies in the middle of a hectic day.

Katie and the boys

I like the idea of simple, standard cookies that most people love all year occupying space on my Christmas cookie platter, like a plump peanut butter cookie studded with a Hershey Kiss, a ginger snap, spritz or a buttery shortbread.  This cookie will keep those favorites very good company.  Add some snowflake-decorated sugar cookies and a gingerbread boy or girl, a few little candy canes, and some chocolates wrapped for the holidays, and you have a beautiful cookie platter to present to your family and friends. 

Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe batter, prepared
1 tablespoon freshly-grated orange rind
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Mix the grated orange rind and cranberries into the chocolate chip cookie dough batter.  Bake the cookies as your original recipe suggests.

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