Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm Back! [Caramel Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie]

What's my excuse for being gone this long? I have plenty. First, my computer took a dive for a week. Second, homework was piled up. Third, taxes. Fourth, birthday celebrations: hello 26 year old me and to one of my best buddies. Fifth, I'm engaged.

The truth is that I missed blogging and writing out what's been going on in my life. I attempted to write several times these past weeks, but the words wouldn't come. The cause of it is probably all the papers I had to write. I haven't been baking up a storm either. I've been doing repeats such as granola and Peanut Butter Bars.

Last week, JSB and I went on a bulk food binge. For $37, we bought 1 LB of Saigon Cinnamon, cheese powder, citric acid, sea salt kosher flakes, poppy seeds, and mustard powder AND 4 oz of white tea leaves. With an abundant of spices sitting in my cupboard, I've been experimenting with savory dishes in the kitchen. One of my winning dishes happened to be a warm egg & mixed nut salad that JSB and parents adored. She's been asking for the recipe...perhaps this week I'll have time to recreate it and post the recipe for her. LOVE YOU my YOUNGEST MOST ADORABLE sister. <3

In the mean time, enjoy these Caramel Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies. These cookies are special for the reason that fresh cranberries are used. The chewy caramel bites mixed with the crispy oatmeal and tart cranberry slices are a welcoming combination.

Caramel Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie

Note: This is my first time using fresh cranberries in cookies and I was impressed by the results. I was expecting mushy juicy bits, but it turned out to be moist with a bit of chew. Because it is a good deal juicer than dried cranberries, there is a longer bake time.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 TBSP whole wheat flour (or substitute all purpose)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup fresh cranberries, sliced
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar (for making caramel praline)

Making Praline

In a skillet, sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar evenly across the surface. Turn the heat to medium low. As the sugar starts melting and turning color, swirl the sugar around. If necessary, use a wooden spoon to stir in the stubborn sugar pieces that aren't melting. When it's the color of medium-dark amber, take it off the heat and pour onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Quickly tilt the cookie sheet so the praline spreads into a thin layer.

  1. Make caramel praline (above for directions).
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth.
  4. Add egg and vanilla extract until blended.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into creamed mixture until just blended.
  6. Break cooled caramel into tiny pieces, approximately 1/2 inch pieces or smaller.
  7. Fold oats, cranberries, chocolate chips, and caramel into dough.
  8. Drop teaspoon sized dough onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until browned around the edges and the surface of cookie is dry to the touch.
  10. Let the cookies cool down to room temperature before removing it from the parchment paper. The cookies will fall apart if they are moved while still warm. The cookies are the best enjoyed the day it is baked while the caramel is chewy and the oatmeal is crispy. Because fresh cranberries are quite moist, the cookies will lose the chewy crispy texture and turn into soft cookies that fall apart the next day.

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