I'm a sucker for big trays of holiday cookies of different shapes, colors and sizes -- I always feel the need to sample each one. It's fun to watch as friends, neighbors and co-workers dig deep into their recipe boxes and call upon generations-old family traditions to whip up their self-proclaimed versions of what all holiday cookies should be. It's a celebration and a competition all at once.
There are the whimsical, frosted cutout cookies with sprinkles, the candy cane-flecked peppermint ones, powdered sugar-dusted snowballs, a rich, chocolatey cookie option, buttery thumbprints filled with jam, something involving rum and nutmeg, dark molasses-laden ginger cookies with pearly white icing and, inevitably, a peanut butter version to round out the mix.
One of my favorite holiday flavor combinations is cranberry and orange. This year, I combined two of my most reliable cookie recipes and turned them into one chewy, gooey, citrus-scented, cranberry-studded holiday cookie. They will make a beautiful and delicious addition to any cookie spread, and wonderful food gifts, too.
Cranberry orange oatmeal cookies
Makes about 2 dozen large cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
2. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla, orange zest and orange juice.
3. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda, add oats and then stir in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
4. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls (I use a medium cookie scoop) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Allow space, as these cookies do spread out.
5. Bake 10 minutes. Cookies will be golden and crisp on edges, slightly gooey in the center. Do not overbake.
6. Allow to cool 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.
Maya Evoy lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email email@example.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.