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Cranberry Bliss Cookies & Cookie Swap Recap

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Happy new year!  While most food bloggers are recapping 2012 with their top recipes, I’m totally disorganized and sharing an unseasonal recipe instead, weeks after I’d intended to.  Hey, give me a break, I still don’t have my head on straight after the hectic holiday season and still have one holiday party to go to before I’ll feel truly like I can settle back into a normal routine.

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe, and I wanted to share the yummy cookie recipe I used for  my cookie swap. I know most people are probably drinking green smoothies and training for marathons to attain lofty new year’s resolutions, but I’m going to share this cookie recipe anyway because I really don’t want to wait until next December to do it.  You can save it for next year, but if you have some dried cranberries left over from your holiday baking, why not use them up in these cookies?  I promise those you share them with won’t complain about cookie season being over.  But they might blame you for not making their goal weight loss this week.  :)

This recipe is for a super ginormous batch that makes about 9 dozen cookies, which is great if you are planning on sharing lots of cookies.  If you’d like a more moderate single batch (wuss), you can refer to That Skinny Chick Can Bake‘s recipe, which is what I used to make my ginormous recipe.

Cranberry Bliss Cookies (large batch)

*Note: the pecans need to be toasted so do this step first to avoid frustration.

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 ½ cups (3 sticks / 12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (10 ¼ oz) vegetable shortening
2 ¼ cups (1 lb) sugar
2 cups (1 lb) brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
6 cups (1 lb 9 ½ oz) all-purpose flour
2 ¾ cups dried cranberries, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 ½ lbs Ghirardelli white chips or chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment (I used foil this time) and set aside.

Cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add vanilla, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Add the eggs in while the mixer is running and continue to beat until well combined. Add flour and beat on low to combine. The mixer will be very full at this point so be careful to keep the flour from going over the edge before it is mixed in. Transfer the batter to a very large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients until incorporated.

Scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or till golden. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 9 dozen.

*To toast the pecans, place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 4 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted. Remove and cool completely.

Recipe source: adapted from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!


Cookies from Kristin Moya to Devangi Raval; photo by Devangi.

I know I’m all kinds of evil, but I soon will be announcing a Postcard Project Candy Swap for February.  Don’t blame me, the people have spoken and have begged for more swapping throughout the year.  We’ll see how many actually sign up once they realize it could interfere with resolution number 1: lose weight!  lol

Red Velvet Pinwheel Cookies made by Paula Hartson; photo by Carmel Hodge.

As for the cookie swap, it was so much fun this year (OK, last year–I’m still not adjusted to this being a new year)! I added a Facebook page where we could all connect and gush about the cookies we were baking and receiving, and share pictures, and we just had a blast.

Cookies from Carmel Hodge to Paula Hartson; photo by Paula.

I toughened up and was pretty in-your-face about coming through with the cookies, whereas last year I tried to keep it totally positive. Well sometimes you gotta be tough or people will walk all over you!  Last year six people flaked out and I didn’t know what to do beyond apologize to the those who were left in the cold as I couldn’t afford to make and mail that many cookies (6×3 dozen would be 18 dozen! Yikes.).  Because of my new zero tolerance policy for flakes that I stated in the sign-up form (all flakes are blocked from future swaps), we only had 3 this year, though there were more participants.  I also clued in this year and when those three people didn’t come through with their cookies, I asked for “cookie angels”–volunteers to fill in and send extra cookies to the cookie orphans.  That worked great as there were so many who were eager to share more cookies and no one was left in the cold this year.  Apologies to those who didn’t get all their cookies last year!  I’m a better hostess now so please give me a second chance. :)

Cookies from Marlo Edwards to Paula Hartson; photo by Paula.

All in all the cookie swap was a roaring success, the highlight being raising money for kids cancer and the mixer I got as a reward (see this post if you missed all that).

Cookies from Paula Hartson who volunteered as a cookie angel for Shania Ortiz; photo by Shania.

Cookie Swap Stats:

Participants 2011: 52 2012: 72

Number of packages sent 2011: 162, 2012: 216

Number of cookies swapped 2011: 1,944 2012: 3,574

Money raised for kids cancer: $3,574 (2012 only)

Number of smiles created 2011 & 2012: countless :)

About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

25 responses »

  1. My kitchen is still without a kitchen sink and regular counter top, so 2012 was a year of no baking of Christmas cookies for me, not to mention, my new oven is broken and waiting for a tech to come and fix it, I am so looking forward to 2013’s new Holiday swaps, that I can actually join once I have a normal kitchen again, keep up the fun V!! Love what you do!! :-)


    • Aw poor Robs! Even though I was overwhelmed by the Christmas baking and am still trying to catch up on the sleep I lost, I would have been so sad not to have been able to do any. I look forward to you joining us, especially since that will mean your oven is working again. :)


  2. My Italian Smörgåsbord

    your cranberry cookies look so good it seems they come from a (luxury) box. congrats again for this success. it must feel great to do something fun, useful and rewarding. happy new year!


  3. Those cranberry cookies look fabulous!! I’m pinning them…all the other cookies look great too, but since I am going to work on purging sugar from my mouth…I will just look on, and look away, as long as possible. =) Appreciate all the good you do here…all the smiles you bring. Keep on keeping on…happy 2013! to you and yours.


  4. Those are some awesome stats! The cookies look good, the pictures are great! I wonder if we can come up with some diet candy? :-)


  5. Beautiful cookies! I am all sugared out – I’m ready for healthy eats and fresh food!


  6. I love cranberries, so cranberries in the cookies sounds great! You’re ahead of me, at least you pulled a blog together I haven’t even managed that yet!! Geesh!! Ah well, at least I’ve been keeping busy and having a great holiday season :)


    • Suzie I know you love cranberries and I was kinda sad when I wrote this cuz I realized I should have saved some for you so I could mail them in your birthday package. I’m soooo not making these again, sorry I’m done with cookies! I’ve had it! lol. I know what you mean, it was so hard to write this one, it just seems like things will never be back to normal again! I baked two lemon meringue pies today, that’s 4 in just two weeks! Aaaa, will it never end? Glad you had a great holiday season. :)


  7. You rock, Veronica!!!! What a great response for an outstanding cause! Maybe I’ll get my act together so I can join in next year! And I’m SO, so glad you liked these cookies…I still have a few hiding in my freezer…just for me!!! xo


  8. ha I didn’t do a recap either, you know it’s soooo last year. As far as I’m concerned cranberries are never out of season.


  9. Ooooh those cranberry cookies look delicious. You’re such a good hostess, Veronica! I know from working with you on Suzie’s bake sale!


  10. Ha! I’m in the same space as you, except that you are actually ahead of me. I wanted to share a recipe for homemade Bailey’s Irish cream in both a vegan coconut milk version and a regular dairy cream version. How December is that? You actually posted your December recipe, I’m still thinking about mine! And my holiday cards aren’t mailed yet either, but hey, the letter’s written!


    • Hey, Bailey’s gets used a lot for St. Patrick’s Day so even if you posted now or a little later, it would still be a good time. Too funny you haven’t mailed your holiday cards! lol I haven’t either but I knew I wasn’t going to send them this year. Maybe a New Year’s letter…


  11. Veronica! Very yummy looking cookies. I am on a bit of a sweet moratorium but these are VERY tempting! :)


  12. Hey now, who says this is unseasonal?? I still have plenty of dried cranberries around with which to make these!


  13. Pingback: Cranberry Crumb Bars | Veronica's Cornucopia

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