Cranberry & white chocolate oatmeal cookies – Soft baked, chewy oatmeal cookies stuffed with white chocolate chips and dried sweet-tart cranberries – one bowl, no mixer and only a third of a cup of sugar to make fourteen cookies!
Just give me all the cookies.
All of them…
At least I’m being polite…that counts for something, right?
At the risk of sounding like I’m bossing you around…you need to make these cookies. Heck, I need to make these cookies (again) …We’ve just eaten the last one…
My needs in life are pretty simple – a good cup of coffee, something engrossing to read, and a plateful of warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookies – makes for one very happy me.
If there is anything that defines my life nowadays – it’s a craving for simplicity.
I find having too much choice overwhelming.
What to wear. What to eat. What to buy.
The world seems to be moving at an ever increasing pace – the sheer volume of choice available makes my head spin and that’s not a pretty sight!
For me, the problem of having too much choice goes hand-in-hand with having too much stuff.
A few years back I realised how much of my time, effort and money was spent trying to keep up with some self-defined level of stuff needed to make my life complete.
I thought I had to have everything. Do everything. Be everything.
After all, surely more = happier?
I was wrong.
I was so wrong…
As it turns out, the less stuff I have, the more contented I feel.
Full disclosure: don’t get me wrong, I still have wayyy too much stuff, but for me this is a life-long project. I’ve simply found that by reducing my possessions and choosing to be intentional about purchases I gain a level of peace that is addicting in itself.
When the urge to shop hits, (yes, it still does – I’m human after all…) I’ve learned the easiest way to satisfy it is a quick trip to the baking ingredients aisle.
Happiness is a bag of flour?
What can I say, I’m weird, I know…
One thing is certain – my bank balance sure prefers a new bag of flour to a new handbag!
Way, way back in time, when I first started experimenting with this oatmeal cookie recipe, I added a new ingredient to my shopping basket – blackstrap molasses.
I’ve spoken before about my love of molasses sugar, have you tried it yet? Although I’m in love with the flavour it imparts, I was strangely nervous about trying molasses in pure liquid form. I think it’s because blackstrap molasses seems to create quite a divided opinion – for some it’s too strong, too bitter, too much. For others it’s rich, sticky and simply delicious.
I can understand why it would be considered an acquired taste, it’s like the marmite of the sugar world.
By the way, marmite = yum! (Okay…I’ve probably just lost half my readership…hey ho…)
Getting back on topic…when I finally got brave enough to give blackstrap molasses a go? Unsurprisingly, I loved it!
Granted, it’s not something I could eat by the spoonful, but the tiny amount in this recipe gives the cookies a bitter-sweetness and caramel edge that works beautifully. If you don’t have or don’t like blackstrap, by all means substitute a lighter molasses (treacle for example) or simply leave it out altogether.
Also, next time you are making a batch of homemade chilli? Add a spoonful of molasses as it’s cooking…go on…I dare you – I promise it’s worth it!
The first few times I tested these cookies they tasted great, but the prettiness factor? Hmm, not so much. Even with all that butter, the cookies simply refused to spread as they baked.
I eventually solved the problem by adding a scant tablespoon of granulated sugar to the dough (white granulated sugar encourages the spread of cookies as it melts.) I always try to keep the sugar in a recipe as low as possible, as long as it doesn’t compromise on the taste, so to get the same results I wouldn’t recommend omitting this ingredient.
To keep things as simple as possible, I’ve made this recipe the old fashioned way – with a wooden spoon and a bowl (I’ve found ceramic works best.) I try to think of it as a great arm workout opportunity as I beat the ingredients together!!
Okay, so you only end up with one well toned, muscular arm, but that’s a good start…
You can, of course, use a stand mixer for this recipe if you prefer. The most important thing is to start with everything at room temperature as this will help you more evenly incorporate each ingredient into the dough.
By creaming (beating) the butter and sugars together well, you allow the sugar to disperse through the dough (there’s that cookie spread again..) and you also introduce air to the cookies, creating a lighter texture and a more evenly baked end result. You’re going to be beating the mixture until you get it looking light, fluffy and a very pale caramel colour.
Add the egg a little at a time, then mix in the dry ingredients and the all-important white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Chill the dough for at least an hour (in the pictured cookies, I left the dough to chill for a couple of hours). Chilling the dough helps all the flavours to meld together, (mmm, molasses…) and it also makes the dough a little easier to handle (although please note it will still be sticky, that’s what makes the end result so yummy!)
After you let the mixture sit at room temperature for a few minutes you should be able to scoop the dough into balls. If you have a cookie scoop, use it to divide the mixture into fourteen cookies, I simply grabbed spoonfuls, weighed them to be approx 35g each and rolled them into balls with my hands.
I’ve found you do need to flatten the balls of dough just a little before baking, to encourage them to start spreading. If you want to scatter a few white chocolate chips on for extra prettiness do so near the end of the cooking time, the cookies will still be soft enough to lightly press them in.
And that’s it. Now all you have to do is wait for them to cool down enough to eat!!
When everything gets too much and you just want the world to slow down for a while?
Take a moment to sit and breathe. Drink some water. Maybe write a list (that always makes me feel more in control, even if I tend to then ignore it!) Then treat yourself to a cup of something warm & comforting, a few pages of your most favourite book, and a couple of these cranberry and white chocolate oatmeal cookies. Soft baked, buttery, warm cinnamon-spiced oatmeal cookies with a hint of caramel flavour and tons of melty white chocolate chips and chewy, sweet cranberries (totally counts as a serving of fruit in my book!)
Go on, you deserve it!
- ½ cup (120g) softened butter
- ¼ cup (45g) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 large egg (at room temperature), lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses*
- ⅔ cup (80g) plain (all purpose) flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (45g) white chocolate chips
- ½ cup (50g) dried cranberries
- 1 and ⅓ cups (125g) rolled oats
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes soft and fluffy and lightens in colour to a pale caramel.
- Add the lightly beaten egg, a little at a time, and beat until combined. Next, add the molasses (if using) and again, beat until combined.
- Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and ground cinnamon and add to the butter / sugar mixture, stirring it in.
- Add the white chocolate chips, cranberries and oats and stir well until everything is combined.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 - 2 hours. The chilling time both allows the flavours to meld together, and helps make the mixture a little easier to handle.
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F degrees). Line two baking sheets with baking parchment or silicone sheets and set aside.
- After chilling, the dough will be sticky, but manageable. After allowing the dough to sit at room temperature for a few minutes, roll into balls (mine made 14 cookies with each ball of dough weighing approx 35g).
- Place the balls onto the lined baking sheets at least 2 inches apart and press each one down slightly.
- Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown (be careful not to overcook - they will still be quite soft when you take them out but will continue to firm up as they cool down).
- Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.
- Cookies will stay fresh for up to one week in an airtight container.