Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Oh no, it’s the holidays, guess that means I have to make/eat a thousand baked goods.  Shoot!  I totally hate that.

False. I do not hate that.

Some of you who know me and/or read my blog from time to time know I have been in Chile all year.  Well, I’m back in Napa, CA!  The land of wine and…uh…well we’ve got two Targets.   More importantly I’m back in the US which is the land of endless variety in terms of food, ingredients etc.  Seriously, I almost had a panic attack at our local gourmet grocery store today.  Why does anyone need that many kinds of frozen burritos???

Anyway, as part of the holiday tradition of eating ourselves into a coma, my mother commissioned me to make a batch of delicious cookies that we also made last year to great success.  And I was like “Okay, yeah we need an additional cookie variety in this house, I only see two so far.”  And she was like “Whatever, Mel.”

So this is like, most of the ingredients.

Fun fact!  If your brown sugar has molded into a brick so hard you could build a house out of them if you had enough, don’t despair!  There’s a trick you can use to soften it!  Just put the brown sugar in one microwave safe bowl and fill another microwave safe bowl with water.  Then put both in the microwave on high for about a minute.  If after a minute it’s not soft enough, continue microwaving both at 30 second intervals until it is.  I had to microwave it for about 2 minutes total.

Anyway, here’s a complete list of ingredients:

1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2  cup granulated sugar
2  eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
3  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup dried cranberries
Half a bag of Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350.  Now, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy.  Then add the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.  Next, add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Then mix in oats, cranberries and chocolate chips.

resist eating at this stage.

Now, just plop tablespoons of dough onto your ungreased cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes.  When they’re done just eat like forty of them to be sure they turned out well.

yeah. they turned out real nice.

Then of course, if you can, stuff them into a 20-yr-old snowman cookie jar that has never stopped playing “White Christmas”, even, occasionally, when no one is in the room with it.

can it see us?

Happy holidays, y’all!  Prospero año, y felicidad!


Easy sugar cookies

When I started working at the DuocUC Institute here in Chile I wanted to make a good impression on my colleagues while simultaneously bribing them so that if I ever needed something they wouldn’t hesitate to help me out.  It’s weird being one of only three “gringos” working in an all Chilean environment and at first I felt a bit like an outcast.  I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it but I also felt some resentment.  Possibly because I came in with almost no teaching experience and certainly nothing resembling a credential and took jobs away from far more qualified Chilean teachers.  I can’t be sure.

Anyway, last semester I decided to combine my love of baking with my desperate need to be popular and started bringing baked goods every week.  I quickly became a favorite with anyone who came into the teacher’s lounge and it got to the point where people would ask me weekly when and what I would be bringing.  This week, I decided to make sugar cookies.

This recipe is really easy, only has a few ingredients and yields a large number of delicious, perfectly crafted cookies.  (Adapted from Here’s what you need:

2 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Extra sugar for rolling the dough

That’s it!

First, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Then combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl.  Set it aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar then beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add in the dry ingredients slowly, mixing well.

Roll the dough into balls and then roll in the white, granulated sugar to coat the entire ball.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.

like this.

I like to bake them for about 7 minutes.  They come out still a little gooey, but just let them cool before moving them to a plate or paper towel.  The gooeyness becomes chewiness and that is what makes these little babies so perfect.  Enjoy!