Potlucks are an excuse to bake cookies

Mostly I make cookies between Thanksgiving and Christmas, aiming for about 30 kinds of cookies and candies. (I make cookies that freeze well, obviously. Most cookies freeze perfectly.)

Anyway, those are meant to be tiny and fancy. Everyday casual cookies are not allowed to mingle with tiny little fancy cookies. So I don’t make everyday casual cookies all that often.

When I do, though, I often make Toffee Cranberry Chocolate-Chip Cookies. They are good, easy, a little bit different, and not pretty enough to work as part of the Christmas assortment.

We had an office potluck yesterday, and several people asked for the recipe. No problem! Here it is, and then those of you can bake can try them if you like, and I can send them the link on Monday.

Toffee Cranberry Chocolate-Chip Cookies

1 C butter
3/4 C granulated sugar
34 3/4 C brown sugar (Thanks, Hanneke! Yes, definitely not 34 cups!)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 C quick oats (or old-fashioned oats)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C dried cranberries
1 C mini chocolate chips (not regular size, really. Use mini chips.)
1 C English toffee bits or almond brickle chips

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Stir in lightly. Add dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and English toffee bits. Stir in.

Drop by tsp onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes and remove to racks to cool completely.

Anyone who is an experienced baker should be able to see that these are going to come out rather thin and crisp, what with all that butter and only one egg. If you only like soft cakey cookies, then these are not the best choice. They are, however, really really good.

On the other hand, if you like cakey cookies and cranberries, you might try the following recipe instead. I would have made them as well except I didn’t have any vanilla chips. If you don’t like vanilla chips, I’m right there with you, but this recipe is an exception, I swear. They are just as easy as the above, but quite different in character. It’s the lower proportion of butter to dry ingredients, the extra egg and the use of baking powder as well as baking soda. Also, if you happen to want to exaggerate the cakey nature of these cookies, margarine will give you a softer texture than butter.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1 C butter or margarine
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
2 C quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 C coarsely chopped dried cranberries (I don’t always bother to chop them)
1 Tbsp freshly grated orange peel (I just leave it out if I don’t have an orange handy)
1 pkg (12 oz) vanilla chips

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each — this is a cake technique, by the way. Beat in vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir in lightly. Add the oats, cranberries, and orange zest and stir in lightly. Add the vanilla chips and stir to thoroughly combine.

Drop by rounded tsp onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.

There you go, next time you have a potluck or whatever, try taking a plate with both of those. I expect you won’t be taking many back home with you.

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