Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Winter Squash Week 10 013 Edited Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

I took some grief for the exceedingly lengthy delays between my blog posts today, and I was rather surprised about it. I generally carry around feelings of guilt and neglect when I ignore this space for more than three days, which until today, I thought was completely irrational and narcissistic. I had no idea my friend who dished out the grief actually looked forward to my nonsense.

For the most part, I figured people just sort of hung out across the internet, forgetting that they liked this blog until they saw something new come through and remembered it again. Like driving along and hearing a song on the radio that you enjoy but have not heard in a while. You sing along, but then pretty much forgot it exists once you get out of the car.

My point, if there is one to be made in this mess, is I made these cookies last weekend with every intent to share them then, but I had so very little to say that I sat on the post. I probably would still have it sitting as a draft if it weren’t for my friend getting in my face about it.

Winter Squash Week 10 011 Edited Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Yesterday, a different friend asked me if I made any resolutions for the year. My immediate, resounding response was “nope.” I feel like I accomplished a lot last year without really setting out to do so – I started a new job, took a few weekend trips, made some new friends, ate a lot of cookies, drank a lot of beer, and lots of other things in between.

This year, I think I’d like to dial it down a notch. I know what I need to do, and I’ll see what I can do to get it done. If I fail at everything, in all reality, I will be no worse the wear. It’s kind of nice to be in place where I am able to enjoy my life as much as I do without wanting to change something all the damn time.

Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I would like to be different, but I’m not going to stress too much over the disappointment if those things fail to come true. Time keeps on moving, and I’d like to enjoy moving along with it.

Winter Squash Week 10 014 Edited Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Already this year I have discovered a great new cook book, Wintersweet, where I found this recipe for cranberry almond cookies. I look forward to very little during the winter, but this cookbook has perked me up. It is full of baking recipes featuring winter squash and cranberries and apples and pears and all good things in between; I love it.

That said, these cookies were a bit finicky. The cookies spreads quite a bit when baking, so I refrigerated the dough in between batches to help minimize the spread. I also recommend erring on the side of underbaking since the cookies crisp up when they are cool.

They bake up crisp rather than fluffy like the cookies I so love, but that does not mean they are not tasty. Right out of the oven, they are warm and chewy, but when left to cool, they crisp up nicely. All around delicious. Enjoy!

Winter Squash Week 10 012 Edited Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Cookies
Serves: 36
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1¼ cups oatmeal (old-fashioned rolled oats)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the almond extract.
  4. Slowly add the dry flour mixture to the mixing bowl, then add the oats. Mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the cranberries and chopped almonds.
  6. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Leave plenty of space (approx. two inches) because the dough will spread.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 14-20 minutes until golden brown but still soft in the middles.
The recipe recommends using roasted, salted almonds, like the kind you would snack on. I used almond slivers, simply because they were what I had available. This recipe also makes a lot of cookies; at least three dozen when dropped by rounded tablespoons.


Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

October 27 043 Edited Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins

It is possible I love this recipe because cranberry pumpkin muffins are the first thing I have baked with pumpkin this season. I’m alerting you to my bias from the get go because the next thing I want to tell you is these are the best pumpkin muffins I have ever tasted.

I do not understand why I love the pumpkin flavor of these muffins so much – the batter calls for the standard cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg – but they are delicious. The crumb is soft and tender; a trait that lends itself well for adding something like juicy cranberries to sink your teeth in to. They are perfect for breakfast or the occasional afternoon snack.

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If you are not so sure about the cranberry-pumpkin combination, chocolate chips or toasted walnuts seem like fine substitutions to me. I topped these muffins with just a bit of coarse sugar, but you could always add a crumble topping or pumpkin seeds.

The recipe requires just one cup of pumpkin puree, so take advantage of the leftovers to try one of the bazillion pumpkin recipes floating around the blogosphere this time of year. If one of those bazillion happens to be another recipe for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheddar or pumpkin cream cheese have made me happy in the past. Enjoy!

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Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
Serves: 12
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.
  3. Mix in the eggs, pumpkin puree and applesauce.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry flour and spice mixture, stirring until just mixed (make sure all of the flour is incorporated, but do not overmix).
  5. Fold in the cranberries.
  6. Line the wells of a muffin tin with paper liners and fill with batter at least ¾ full.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through baking. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched and a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
The original recipe called for sprinkling the tops of the muffins with pumpkin seeds (pepitas) before baking. It also noted that if using frozen cranberries, they can go straight in the batter; there is no need to thaw them.


Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies 007 Edited Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

March 19th was National Oatmeal Cookie Day. All I can say in my defense is I actually made these cookies on March 19th. I had every intention of sharing them on multiple occasions this past week, but then things like work and washing the dishes and work and doing the laundry and work and packing my lunch and work and seeing my friends and work and sleep happened. I suppose we all have weeks like that from time to time.

In between all the chores and work, I had a free hour or two to bake. I wanted to bake because those lunches I was packing were in desperate need of a sweet bite. When I have limited time, I typically resort to baking cookies, and this time was no exception. I turned to a classic – the oatmeal cookie – but I jazzed it up a bit with coconut and cranberries.

The more I bake, the more I realize the oatmeal cookie lends itself to seemingly countless interpretations. In just the past few months I have enjoyed both the salted vanilla chip  and the spiced raisin turned cream pie varieties. They just keep getting better!

Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies 019 Edited Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

By the time the baking was complete and the cookies were photographed and consumed, I was faced with fitting blog writing time in between all of those works I mentioned. But every time I had a few moments to spare, I found I had nothing of interest to say. This happens more often than I would like to admit. I did what I always do and went in search of a quote.

“I’d make oatmeal cookies.”
“I would. That’s just what I would do.”
He lifts one hand from the steering wheel and pinches his chin. “Because the world is changing so fast all the time. There’s nothing you can do but just say, ‘cool,’ and roll with it. But some things can stay the same. Flour is still flour. Vanilla still smells like vanilla. Say a giant fireball is motoring toward us right now from Alha Centauri. Okay, universe. You expect us to run and scream and kill one another? Sorry, we’re making oatmeal freaking cookies.”
― R.A. Nelson, Breathe My Name

I love it. I have no idea what Breathe My Name is about. In fact, I had never heard of the work before I came across the above. What struck me is how that exchange sums up just why I love to bake. When things are crazy-busy and the pace of life seems as though it is gaining speed at every turn, flour is still flour and vanilla still smells like vanilla. And sometimes, you just have to stop and make some oatmeal cookies. Enjoy!

Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies 021 Edited Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, cranberries and coconut.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
  6. Fold in the mixture of oats, cranberries and coconut.
  7. Roll 2 tablespoons of dough at a time into balls and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Then gently flatten the dough balls with the palm of your hand.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets two-thirds through the baking time. When done, the cookies will look golden brown on the edges but still a bit soft in the centers.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to allow to finish cooling.