Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cranberry Walnut White Chocolate Chip Cookies and The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap


This was my first time participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I was so excited to stumble across it! Not only is it a fun way to get into the holiday spirit and connect with new foodies, but it supports an amazing cause! I have been a supporter of Cookies for Kids Cancer for a couple of years so I was ecstatic to see that this event contributed to the Be a Good Cookie movement. I have thrown a bake sale in the past, and it is such an easy and cooperative way to donate to a cause that needs all the support and exposure we can share. If you are looking for a charity to donate to this Holiday season (and beyond), please consider Cookies for Kids Cancer. Thanks to Oxo for the surprise gift and for being such a great partner in the fight against pediatric cancers.

Many thanks to Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie at The Little Kitchen  for organizing such a fun event! All of your hard work is much appreciated!

I was so excited to get baking for the swap but I had to decide what to make. I wanted something new, something seasonal and something everyone would like (hopefully). Since I wanted to make a new cookie recipe for the swap and because one of the guidelines was that it couldn't be a recipe you had posted to your blog in the past, I had to come up with something totally new. My Cookie Swap Special has in my opinion, some of the season's best flavors.

In addition to the Cranberry Walnut White Chocolate Chip cookies, I also made and sent our family's favorite holiday cookie. We have been making them for as long as I can remember and I wanted to share something that was special for our homemade holidays but I can't share the recipe. So I went with the best of both worlds, half a dozen of each.



Ingredients:

2 Sticks Softened Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Ollive Oil
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Milk
2-3 Teaspoons Orange Zest
3 3/4 Cups Cake Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
3/4- 1 Cup Dried Cranberries (I used Craisins with Cherry Juice)

Additional 1/2 cup of sugar in a small bowl for topping the cookies.


In a large bowl, mix the sugars and wet ingredients. Add the eggs one at a time. Then add the orange zest and distribute evenly. I went slightly light on the zest as I didn't want it to overpower the cookie flavor, but if you want more orange flavor, just up the amount of zest.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and stir with a fork or whisk.

Add the dry ingredients in three parts to the wet and mix well. When evenly distributed, add the walnuts, white chocolate chips and the craisins.


If the dough seems too wet, add a bit more of the cake flour until it is firm enough to hold shape but isn't hard. It will be a softer, wetter dough anyway so make sure to refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350



Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop even amounts of the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. I like to use an ice cream scoop. It will give you nice, even, rounded scoops.




With the extra sugar, dip a pint glass in the dish and then push down on the cookies to flatten. Re-dip in sugar after each cookie. 



Bake 10-13 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. I like cookies on the lighter, chewier side so if you don't feel free to cook them longer until they are crispy, crunchy. Let sit on cookie sheet for a few minutes to set, then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely before packing them away. 





In return for the three packages I sent out, I received cookies from three lovely ladies. These foodies made some delectable treats! They were all different and original and I was so happy with each package. Thanks, ladies!




From Ausra, of Vaikai ir Vanile I received these delightful tea cookies, she made each one to look like a tea bag. They were adorable and so delicious! I love that they were dipped in chocolate and I was impressed that she took the time to make individual tea tags for each cookie, it was such a cute touch! These are great with a complimentary cup of tea!




The Swiss Chocolate Almond Cookies from Laura of Mainline Feast were scrumptious! She made these with Toblerone chunks with salted almonds. She was sweet enough to put a few Toblerone bites in the package as well. I love salty sweet, so these were right up my alley!



And last but certainly not least, I was gifted some Mint Chocolate Chip cookies from Allison at Creative Crops. These crisp minty cookies were sweet and refreshing, they'd be great as an after dinner treat with some coffee.

All of the cookies were a hit here in our house! Hylton made a few trips to the kitchen to sneak them when I wasn't looking. Thank you, ladies for all of your homemade deliciousness! They were all fantastic. 

If you are a food blogger and interested in signing up for updates, or if you would like to participate next year, go here

Happy Holi-dishing!


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