Now, I may not need an excuse to bake cookies. I mean, who does? Cookies, when made well, are marvellous little treasures of sweetness and glory, a little crisp, a little chewy, and guaranteed to make any day that little bit brighter.
But, it being Christmas, it’s pretty much compulsory to have cookies handy in case of visitors, dragons, or simply the need for a cuppa. And while this is a wonderful thing to the mind of a cookie-lover such as myself, not all cookies are created equal. As astonishing as it may be, I have actually, on certain festive occasions, encountered a cookie I do not like.
To be specific, many holiday cookies, while fun to shape and decorate, leave much to be desired in the taste department. Now, I may just not have had a decent one yet, and am prepared to stand corrected (particularly if someone wants to send me cookies), but I have so far kept clear of traditional holiday cookies and luminous icing techniques.
However. I have a solution. And it is cranberry-pistachio cookies fit for the most discerning dragon (or other visitor).
They are, of course, wonderfully indulgent and crammed with chocolate chunks and brown sugar, while the green of the pistachios and the red jewels of the dried cranberries shout Christmas at anyone who dares point out that the only truly festive afternoon tea options are fruit cake or mince pies. Not that I have anything against either, and as regular readers will know, dragons are very enthusiastic about both, but it’s always good to keep our baked goods options open. One doesn’t want to overdose on sultanas and minced peel.
These cookies are, in fact, so wonderful that they warranted inclusion in the recipe section of Yule Be Sorry, Beaufort Scales’ second dragonish cozy mystery, along with such delights as Yule log (which I’m considering making for Christmas Day, although as it’s only myself, the SO (Mick), and the Little Furry Muse this year, that might be excessive), the aforementioned mince pies and fruit cake, plus pavlova, which I don’t even like, but as I’m from New Zealand it’s illegal for me not to include it in a list of Christmas treats.
And if you’re the sort of person that likes making your Christmas gifts, these look gorgeous in a nice jar with a bit of ribbon and a pretty label. They also look pretty amazing in a tin on the coffee table, next to your cuppa and in front of Nightmare Before Christmas or Die Hard or whatever your Christmas movie of choice is.
All of which is to say – you can’t go wrong with these lovely little gems. They’re even quite forgiving if (ahem) you’re reading while making them and forget to take them out of the oven at exactly the right time. Just so you know.
(They do ask for white chocolate, but I prefer dark – it stops them being too sweet. Plus I just don’t like white chocolate all that much …)
- 170g softened unsalted butter
- 150g soft light brown sugar
- 50g sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g flour
- 2tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 135g white or dark chocolate chunks
- 75g dried cranberries
- 63g salted pistachios, shelled (this takes ages, so grab a helper. One who doesn’t eat as many as he puts in the pot. I’m looking at you, the SO.)
Beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugars and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornflour, baking soda and salt, then add to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined (it’ll be very thick). Add chocolate, cranberries, and pistachios, then mix lightly. Cover and chill for at least two hours and up to a day. Don’t skip this step. Speaking from experience here. Also try not to eat all of the dough before it’s chilled (and remember there is raw egg in there, so, you know. At your own risk).
Preheat oven to 180C, and let cookie dough rest out of fridge for 10-30 minutes, depending on how long it’s been chilling. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Scoop and roll dough into roughly 1 tbsp balls (it may take a bit of working to get them to stick together), then bake for 8-10 minutes or until just golden around the edges.
Allow to cool for at least five minutes before removing them from the baking tray – they come out very soft.
Makes about two dozen, or in other words you may need to make a double batch if you’re planning on giving any away. And make a quadruple batch if you’re expecting dragons.#
If you’d try some other dragon-approved recipes, you can of course jump to the recipe tab in the menu, or you can check out the books page to grab your copies of Beaufort’s cosy mysteries in ebook or paperback.
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Over to you, lovely people — do you like Christmas cookies? Do you prefer a more traditional biscuit, such as shortbread? And what’s your favourite Christmas treat? Let me know in the comments!