Two Cookies: Coconut Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chunky Peanut Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

The Tigress announced a cookie party!  It is this Thursday, December 15th 730-830pm EST (that is 430pm for you westcoasters).  A cyber party. Recipes. Cookie Love. A chance to win some amazing books (pop over and read more details about the party and each of the books).

I’ve had a hankering for some cookie baking, but was sorely lacking in the motivation department.  Folks, I am just plain burned out on dishes.  Washing them. Unloading/filling the dishwasher. Putting dishes away. Sick of dishes.  And even more than that? Sick of mess in the kitchen. The thought of mess in the kitchen makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  So the Tigress saved me from a cookie-less December.  And, incidentally, the kitchen is still looking good.

holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist

I have so many family memories from this time of the year. We moved a lot and rarely lived near other family (and sometimes were living in other countries), so it was often my immediate family only over Christmas. It never bothered me- I mean, I never knew anything else- but it saddened my mom to be away from more family I think. Consequently some traditions grew big.  Like cookies. This time of year is jam-packed with memories of making and decorating cookies with my family.

I can’t even tell you how many varieties my mom made. Was it 10? 16? 21?  I don’t know. (Mom? Do you know?) It was A LOT.  There were cookie exchange parties, but I really didn’t want to exchange my mom’s as they were always the best.  I consumed about 67 pounds of sugar and butter (or shortening more likely at that point) seasonally- much of it in the form of frosting. According to (one of our few actual spoken rules):

Brown Family Rule # 32: When frosting a sugar cookie more IS better and artistic ability is totally useless unless said ability is combined with a shit ton of frosting. Period.

holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist childhood

Classic me, circa 1973. I *might* still make this face when I'm frosting cookies.

My mom, bless her, made me something called a Creme Parisians every year. I’d beg her because these cookies were such a pain in the ass to make. But I loved them. Magical frosting sandwiched between little flaky wafer pastries that were like a bite-sized nubbins of all that was right in the world. Mmm. So good. I need to get that recipe.  Ooh, and those addictive Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Meringue wonders too.

Despite all that nostalgia I didn’t make any family favorites!  My “to-try” pile of recipes is embarking on diagnosable so it seemed more like a time to try something new.

Cooking with Kids

Cooking most everything from scratch with a kid is not for the faint of heart. It is messy. I tries my patience at times. (and by ‘at times’ I don’t mean just now and then. I mean at times during every session). But you know what is awesome? A 3-year-old that knows how to make bread that is what.  So, I try to include the Babylady in any cooking she wants.  Mostly that is anything with a batter or dough. She loves to crack eggs. She is starting to want to do some chopping and likes to make coffee, but the mixer is her Culinary BFF.  She has a dance for when the mixer is running and everything.

As I mentioned above, I have been seriously losing it over the state of clutter and kitchen mess. The thought of baking cookies with an almost four-year-old human flour and sugar sprayer had me in jitters.  Until I remembered that I was the adult and I actually knew how to manage the situation.  Cooking with kids? Prepare ahead. It is easier for you. Easier for them. They have less time to stick their paws in and start eating butter or flour by the fistful. Everyone is happier. And in the end, there are cookies.  And a clean, or at least not destroyed, kitchen.

holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist cooking with kids

Supplies out and ready for 2 batches of cookies in the bowls they'll be needed in.

Coconut, Cranberry, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • zest of one organic orange (pesticide residual is largely in the skins)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked dried coconut
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chip

Directions

          1. Preheat oven to 350° regular (or 325° convection).
          2. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth in a mixer at medium speed.
          3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on low-speed until dough comes together. The dough might be a bit dry/crumbly and that is normal but mix until it is all mixed together well.  It may take 5 minutes.
          4. Mix in cranberries, chocolate chips, and coconut.
          5. Note: I am a cookie “blopper.” I scoop dough out and squish it into a roundish shape. You won’t find me measuring out perfect scoops.  You should, however, make sure all the cookies on one tray are roughly the same size though to prevent uneven cooking. Blop or shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on your baking sheets.  Sometimes I use silpat sheets. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I use parchment paper. Sometimes I don’t. Your call.  I never notice a difference, but maybe you will.
          6. Bake until cookie edges start to brown, 8 to 11 minutes (depending on your chewy-to-crispy preferences. A shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crisper cookie).
          7. Let cool for a few minutes on baking sheet and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist cooking with kids

Babylady getting her baking on

holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist cooking with kids

Babylady is an official Cookie Blopper as well. We don't need no stinkin' measuring scoops.

holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist cooking with kids

can you just taste the buttery, sugary goodness?

I loved these! Very buttery and a bit crisp so they are perfect for dunking in cold milk.  I might have even converted some coconut haters!

Chunky Peanut, Chocolate Chip, and Cinnamon Cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

              • 2 cups all-purpose flour
              • 1 teaspoon baking soda
              • 1 teaspoon salt
              • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
              • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
              • ½ cup organic crunchy peanut butter
              • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
              • ½ cup granulated sugar
              • 2 large eggs
              • 1 ½ cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
              • ¾ cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
              • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

          1. Preheat oven to 350°F (325° convection).
          2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
          3. In a mixer, beat butter and peanut butter on medium speed until combined.
          4. Add sugars and mix. Mix in eggs.
          5. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, peanuts, and vanilla with a mixing spoon. Refrigerate dough until it is slightly firm and easier to ball (or blop) up.
          6. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Space balls 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake until starting to get golden, about 13 minutes.
          7. Let cool for a few minutes on baking sheet and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist cooking with kids

She has gotten pretty great at cracking eggs without a mess or shells

holiday cookie 2011 grow and resist cooking with kids

pretty thin

I thought this recipe was…hmm…ok. The flavors themselves were great. The cinnamon with the peanut butter and chocolate chips was really nice.  But they were so flat (chilled dough, chilled sheet) and too crispy.  Too rich for eating, but were really good broken up in a bowl with milk. You know, like cereal. Oh come on…you do this too right?

Anyway, this is the second time I have used a Martha recipe for cookies and neither were up to snuff in my opinion. The last time, they were downright abysmal.  This time while ok, they weren’t up to a repeat.  Though, if any of you lovely readers out there know how to make this recipe better I’d love to know!

What is your favorite cookie? Do you stick to family favorites or try something new every year?

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5 Responses to Two Cookies: Coconut Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chunky Peanut Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies

  1. Julia says:

    Oh, Meg you are so cute! I love that picture of you. And gosh, every freaking time we bake together (which is almost every day) I lose my shit. Or forget something. Like today, I made cupcakes and forgot the SUGAR. I need my mise en place together, like you. That’s my ticket. And I’ve been eating cookies in a bowl like cereal since my mother stopped monitoring the cookies, oh, back in ’78.

  2. Traveling Mommy says:

    Meg, you should have put in the picture of you holding the plate of “heavily” frosted sugar cookies with a huge beaming smile on your face! You have really given me a lot of thought over this post – actually the cookie explosion time originated with my mom and her sister (they were always trying to outdo one another.) Back in Iowa they had screened in back porches which served as the freezer in the winter time for the hundreds, thousands of cookies that were made starting before Thanksgiving! So I came by this naturally and most of the time we used “the cookie party” is a get acquainted time while settling in a new state or country. I think that I did need to cling to those Midwest roots regardless of the hundreds or thousands of miles that we were from there. I just got out my cookie cookbook and I have old cookie dough stained sheets of paper where I have listed the cookies I baked in some years – 1982 – 18 kinds, 1983 – 19 kinds (yes Cream Parisians – ugh!) I will pass on to you the bedraggled stained book and lists for Christmas!….the recipe for the THAT cookie because I am not making it! I do have to say that the traditional frosted sugar cookie rules though!

  3. Traveling Mommy says:

    Oh, I need to add that Lucy was an excellent teacher when we were making cookies in Portland – she was telling Everett that in cracking eggs that you need to get your thumb in there! I just make cookies again with Everett a couple of days ago and this time I had things set out like you did in the picture above – it was much easier!

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