Friday, December 14, 2012

Cranberry & Chocolate Chip Cookies for Christmas Baking

As with some of my other new things to try, this recipe was what I call a Pinspiration!  When my sweet, fellow blogger friends over at Farm Chick Chit Chat decided we would host a Christmas Cookie Swap, I knew I'd need a new, Christmas"y" recipe to share.  Where do I turn when looking for new recipe ideas?  Well, Pinterest, of course!  

I found these amazing, Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies originally posted by averie cooks.  I knew right away this could very well be the Christmas cookie recipe I'd been looking for so I pinned it and after looking through many others, I came back to this one.  I'm so pleased to share it with you and hope you enjoy the crispy, yet ooey-gooey goodness this amazing recipe brings!  Be sure and make a huge double or triple batch like we did, you're going to want to share them!

I did make changes to the original recipe.  I added some healthier ingredients (YES! I know it's Christmas Cookies so I did leave much of the initial ingredients but I added in my own wheat flour, flax seed, wheat germ, replaced part of the sugar with raw honey, used UNbleached all purpose flour instead of bleached and they were STILL yummy!) Of course, I also only bake with our own farm fresh, free ranged lovely eggs so those were collected fresh that morning!  They ensure much better texture to baked goods I must say!

After making our version of these chewy, soft centered, yummy cookies, we decided to take two batches with us to our homeschool Christmas party.  They were just as big a hit there as they were at my house so I KNEW then I had my recipe for this swap!

Without further ado, enjoy the recipe! 

Cranberry & Chocolate Chip Cookies
(this is double the original creator's recipe so you may cut it in half should you choose)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons cream or milk (I used milk)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour (all-purpose flour may be substituted and used exclusively; bread flour yields chewier cookies and is recommended)
3/4 cup Whole Wheat flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup Wheat Germ depending on your family's tastes (you may leave this out)
1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed (again, you may leave this out if it's not in your family's taste)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
1 cups dried cranberries
12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips ~ next time I am going to try dark chocolate chips so if anyone gives that a whirl, please come back and leave comments I'd LOVE to hear how that turns out!

1. Beat the butter on low speed until smooth. 
2. Add the sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined
3. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and honey and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy
4. Next, add the flours, wheat germ, flax seed (if using these two), baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined. 
5. Add the cranberries and chocolate chips, fold in by hand.
6. The original recipe called for you to, "Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days."
I did not have the luxury of the time for this so I put my dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes and it did fine.  You can decide how you'd like to chill your dough.
7. Preheat oven to 350°F, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment, or spray with cooking spray.
8.  Using a scant 1/4 cup measuring cup, place them on the baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until pale golden and edges have just set, even if slightly undercooked in the center, as cookies will firm up as they cool (For crunchier cookies, extend baking time by 1 to 2 minutes).
9.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing.
Storing & Freezing: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
We hope you enjoy these delicious creations, we certainly did!  These cookies were part of our Family Advent Christmas Countdown Series.  If you'd like to read about other activities you can enjoy with your family during the holidays, try here.  If you try the recipe, try it and add your own twists, or new things, please leave us comments about it!  We really love to hear from you!  From the Burchell Family here at The Egg Basket and all of the families at Farm Chick Chit Chat, Happy Christmas Baking! 
Love & Blessings!

Advent Calendar Countdown~ Day 15 North Pole Breakfast

Advent Calendar Countdown~
Family Activities Day 25- Day 15


We have an Advent Calendar I sewed together for the kids last Christmas.  I'm NOT a seamstress by any means of the word, just self taught from books and tutes on other blogs.  I won't pretend our Advent calendar is the cutest (or has the straightest lines) out there but the kids seem to enjoy that I created for them - knots showing and all! <3 

I won't do a tutorial on how I made our calendar because it's only beautiful to us ha ha ;)  I will tell you if you're new to sewing and crafting with fabric like I am- just buy the wool felt and have fun with it!  The wool felt doesn't fray like other fabrics.  I just bought the wool felt in different colors to match my idea and then drew the squares and numbers by tracing and drew the little reindeer and tree shapes out and attached with stitch witch and sewed the edges.

In each pocket on the calendar I have slips of paper, on those slips of paper are fun activities, family nights, sweets, or holiday events for us to enjoy as a family.  The kids really enjoy these small treats each year and it gets us in the mood for a family oriented holiday season!

I'm obviously late getting the blog posts going for this year since we're already ten days into the month but I still wanted to share our ideas and activities in case someone else out there could enjoy them with thier own family!

I'll list what we've done so far and then hopefully find time to post the rest of our calendar frequently throughout the season to share with you!

So far this year in our countdown to Christmas we've enjoyed:

Day 25- We decorated the house together.  This is the first year that my mom has lived with us so going through our family's things AND her things together made it even more fun.  My kids laugh and call my mom's inlaw suite the "Winter Wonderland!"  Growing up, she was amazing during the holidays about decorating and bringing the holiday spirit into our home.  There was always Christmas music playing and the house would stay decorated in snowmen, miniature houses & shops, and other Christmas cheer from the day after Thanksgiving until the New Year.  I'm so pleased she's continuing it this year and that my children can enjoy it the entire season! 

Day 24- My dear husband treated us to dinner out at our favorite hamburger restaraunt, Red Robin.  Our actual Advent calender activity for the day was our local Christmas Parade.  After some farm incidents we were too late to find parking ANYWHERE in our downtown area.  Instead of having three sad kids, my husband decided to take us to dinner.  It was still a wonderful, fun Christmas activity AND I didn't have to cook or do dishes! :)

Day 23- Family Sweets- I found the kids some adorable Hot Cocoa mix packets at Target and put them together with some Cookies n' Cream chocolates.  Not EVERY Advent day has to be difficult.  Something as simple as a sweet treat, especially when they don't get them often, is just as exciting.  I believe it's simply looking forward to the surprise of what the day brings and knowing I took a little extra time thinking of them!

Day 22- My kids have miniature trees they set up in their bedrooms each year.  When they've outgrown ornaments a particular year, we'll go shopping for something new.  Last year they all decided to go with their own handmade ornaments and some colored balls they wouldn't outgrow.  We pulled their trees out on this day, decorated them, and set them up in their rooms.  It's much nicer than boring nightlights!

Day 21-  Baking Christmas Cookies!  We always carry food to our Christmas parties (for Day 6's Advent Activity) so the Day before usually is a Cookie or Desert baking day.  This year that falls on this day, Day 5.  We made the most DELICIOUS cookies from a recipe I found...of course...on Pinterest!  Let me just tell you it was AMAZING!  All of the moms raved over the recipe as did my family.  YUMMY!  If you're going to give a new cookie recipe a whirl this year, THIS is the one!  The cookies were Chocolate Chip & Cranberry and I blogged about them here

Day 20- Christmas Party!  We homeschool and are so very blessed to be members of a local homeschool co-op.  Our co-op celebrates each year together with a Christmas party.  This year, it fell on our Day 6.  It is ALWAYS a blessing, no matter where we have the party, to fellowship, eat, and enjoy the priorities of the season with our like-minded friends.  This year was even more fun as we held the party at a local roller skating rink.  Moms and kids alike had a fantastic time!

Day 19- Day 7 happened to fall on a Friday night.  If you haven't read my post about our Friday Night tradition, we make sure to spend each Friday evening together as a family with as little meal and clean-up time taken out of it as possible.  We always enjoy DiGornio pizzas (much less expensive than carry out or delivery) with a fun snack (often cookies made quickly from refrigerated dough) and we enjoy a Family movie together.  It's a tradition I pray we stick with even as the kids continue to get older.  For this movie night I decided I wanted to make it just a little more fun and create Grinch Drinks for everyone to go with thier snacks for the movie!  It was super simple and easy but the kids (and my mother) enjoyed it so much!  I found the idea on Pinterest as well as several other ideas for our Advent activities this year.  Here is the link

Day 18- Family Campout (indoors!) My kids still love to hang out with us and they REALLY love to do things outside of the norm.  As much as I dread sleeping on the couch ;), it makes them happy so one night of the Advent calendar is always spent "camping out" together in our living room AND staying up as late as they'd like, as long as they stay in the living room with us.  It usually involves a movie, lots of giggling, and talks we wouldn't normally have.  It also usually includes mom and/or dad being the first to fall asleep and being teased the next day! :)

Day 17- Jelly Belly jellybeans! :) I told you it's not extravagent or difficult! :) We love JB's and very seldom get them. This time of year, fun sweet treats are easy to find with all of the stocking stuffers out in the stores. I often will go through the stores a few days after Thanksgiving and pick up Advent items off of the stocking filler rows. Again, it's inexpensive but a fun little treat to look forward to.

Day 16- Christmas Movie Night!  This night is a special movie night of a Christmas movie that we watch all together.  Probably should be a classic but it's not.  This year we watched, "Santa Paws 2" together!  I surprised the kids and picked it up while I was out doing some shopping and we all sat and watched it together! Great little, feel good family movie! I recommend it for any families with kids :). 

Day 15- Today (well today when I wrote the post anyway) we had a North Pole Breakfast!  It was yet another idea I found on the amazing Pinterest website.  I made my usual pancakes for the kids, then used sliced strawberries and canned whip cream to create "Santa" cakes!  I used chocolate chips for his eyes and the very tips of the strawberries for his jolly red nose.  The canned whipped cream created his fuzzy hat border and tip and his fluffy, white beard.  Even my 11 year old son (who I thought might think he's too old for this) thought they were pretty cool! :)  With that we had some Hot Cocoa from my amazing Keurig (I don't know what I did before my dear hubby bought this convenient machine for me!) and sat down to eat with some Christmas music!  Another perk?  The chickens LOVED thier bowl of scraps including egg shells and strawberries!
We hope you've enjoyed sharing our Advent Calendar & Holiday Activities with us! We have many more activities to come as we enjoy the holidays and pray to spend the time loving each other and celebrating our family and praising our Lord Jesus Christ!  Please check back later for more Christmas Calendar Countdown Days and other ideas to add to your family's holiday.  Starting new traditions and maintaining them strengthen the family and leave your children with memories they can always cherish!  Many blessings from our home to yours!