I’m participating in the Monthly Mingle: Fruit in Baking this month. Monthly Mingle came into fruition with amazing Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey? and this month, it is hosted by lovely Deeba at Passionate About Baking!
I don’t usually bake with fruits, I use lots of chocolate, nuts in my recipes, you know the heavy stuff, and I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t worked with fruits recently except for my lychee mascarpone macarons. I thought this month’s Fruit in Baking would be perfect to get cracking on some dried fruits at home. I don’t always like to go out and buy all sorts of ingredients, just to tick the boxes on recipes; I do enjoy rummaging things from my pantry and putting them together, as I try to practise a waste-not approach. Besides, it’s more practical to finish up what’s left in the pantry before running out to get even more ingredients. You see, we don’t get very much kitchen (or any) space in London.
My in-laws came over to London in May this year, and they brought two giant packs of dried cranberries. They were meant as health foods for us, but we can only snack on that many dried cranberries when we’re feeling peckish, so I thought it would be nice to make some white chocolate and cranberry cookies with them.
I am actually very fond of these cookies as they bring back lots of memories. When I first moved to London in 2007, I was introduced to a whole new variety of baked goods here. Waffles, cookies, biscuits, cakes, breads are done in so many permutations, done so very well and extremely cheaply that I wonder why bakeries in Singapore resort to charging exorbitant prices for good ‘fancy’ (read: those containing more than mere chocolate chips) cookies. The cost price isn’t high, but it appears that Asian countries are selling a Westernised concept to consumers; a large white chocolate and cranberry cookie may cost us only £0.50 here or even less, but it can cost up to the equivalent of £2 in Singapore. As such, I behaved like a mad woman on the loose, buying cookies from every nook and cranny in London, feasting on them without a care in the world. White chocolate and cranberry cookies were one of the goodies that I particularly enjoyed.
I like soft cookies, so I have tweaked the recipe for my chocolate chunk and flaked coconut cookies to make way for white chocolate and dried cranberries. If you like crunchy cookies, just bake them for a minute or two longer, as long as they don’t burn (they shouldn’t) and they will harden once they are completely cooled. These were very popular with my friends, I made loads, but they were snapped up very quickly. I’ve been told that these weren’t too sweet, even with the white chocolate, and the flavours worked well together!
Here’s my recipe.
Chocolate Chunks and Flaked Coconut Cookies:
(adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
225g unsalted butter, room temperature
130g soft light brown sugar
170g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
400g plain flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 and 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
100g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. Cream butter and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well (scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula after each addition to incorporate the unmixed parts). Turn the mixer down to low speed and beat in the vanilla paste.
4. Add flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda and mix well until a smooth dough is formed. Stir in the roughly chopped white chocolate and cranberries.
5. Arrange 6 tablespoon-sized drops of cookie dough on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Ensure that these drops are spaced well apart to allow for expansion. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. At this point, the cookies will be quite flat, and frighteningly soft and pliable. Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the tray before transferring the cookies onto the cooling rack.
6. You can choose to eat them while they are warm (not hot!) and wash them down with a glass of cold milk, or have them at room temperature (they will be harder than when it is warm). M and I love the cookies warm. When the cookies have cooled completely, keep them away from cookie monsters!