Recipe: Oaty Chocolate Cranberry Biscuits

This recipe is a riff on my favourite choc-chip cookie recipe, with nods to Tessa Kiros’s recipe for choc-chip cranberry cookies and to the cranberry oatmeal cookie mix I get at the markets sometimes.  (It works even better if you don’t totally forget about the oil until you add in the choc chips and cranberries and wonder why the mixture doesn’t stick together, so I recommend actually using all the ingredients in the list.)

This recipe is brought to you by the most beautiful dried cranberries I’ve ever seen, which I found at the greengrocer last week.  They deserved some kind of celebration, and these cookies seemed like the place to start.

They are *so* very yum.  The cranberries are really sour and give these cookies an amazing zing, and cinnamon and oats just make the whole thing cozy, and do I even need to justify the chocolate?  I think not.

(I also like it that I can pretend this recipe is healthy now – it has oats and cranberries, and coconut sugar replacing half the sugar, and everyone knows that dark chocolate has anti-oxidants!  Just pour yourself a glass of milk – dairy or non-dairy, I’m not fussy – and you have a healthy breakfast!  Sort of…)

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75g butter, softened
60 ml canola oil.  Don’t forget to put this in!
100 g coconut sugar, brown sugar or raw sugar
100 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small egg or 1/3 cup smooth tofu
100 g rolled oats
150 g flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
90 g dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids or better, and Lindt is good), chopped
90 g dried cranberries

Now what will you do with it?

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two trays with baking paper.

Beat together the butter, oil and sugars until fairly smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla, and beat in.

Stir in the rolled oats, then the flour, cinnamon, bicarb and baking powder, and mix until you get a nice cookie dough.

Mix in the chocolate and cranberries – you may need to use your hands for this.  I use a fork for most of this recipe.

Aren’t these the most luscious dried cranberries you have ever seen?

If, like me, you are going mostly from memory, pause right now and check whether you have added all the ingredients you meant to add.  Because, if you are like me, you probably haven’t (oil and bicarb/baking powder are my favourite ingredients to forget, and neither of these omissions improve the texture of the finished product).

Roll the dough into balls a bit bigger than walnuts but decidedly smaller than golf balls.  Maybe the size of chestnuts?  Or button mushrooms?  Bigger than quail eggs.  Smaller than hen eggs.  Definitely smaller than goose eggs.  Bigger than cherries, smaller than apricots.  Maybe the size of a mouse, all curled up?  Though this would depend on the size of the mouse.  I could keep going like this all day, you know.

Bigger than a hailstone, smaller than a rock, taller than a candle-flame, shorter than a sock, littler than an orange, larger than a bee, please someone end this insane rhyme for me…

Anyway, place said balls on the prepared trays, allowing  about 8cm between them so that they can spread.  I’m totally guessing the 8cm part.  More than 5cm, less than 10cm, and here we go again…

Bake for 8 – 12 minutes, which is to say, ten is about right in my oven, but start checking at 8, and if they are on two different shelves, swap them around halfway through the cooking time.

While they are cooking, you may wish to wander around the kitchen singing “Another reason, another season, for making cookies”, but I wouldn’t, if I were you, because I’ve just looked up the rest of the lyrics, and that song is actually fairly depressing.

Let cookies cool on their trays for 5 minutes before removing them to a rack to cool.  You need to do this because they are very soft when they come out of the oven, but if you let them spend any longer in the oven, they will be all hard and not chewy at all.

Eat, with aforementioned glass of milk.


The good news is that these would be really easy to make dairy-free – just replace the butter with non-dairy margarine.  And if you used tofu instead of egg – voila, they are vegan!

Gluten-free is a bit trickier.  Some people with gluten intolerance are able to eat oats (provided they haven’t been processed in wheaty places, which many of them sadly have been), and if you fall into that category, you will be absolutely fine with use a gluten-free flour mix replacing the wheat flour.

These cookies are already giving the whole Low GI thing a bit of a wink and a nudge what with the oats and all.  If you want to move further in that direction, and are feeling a bit daring, try replacing the oil or the butter with 1/3 cup very smoothly puréed cannelini beans.  I know that sounds disgusting, but it actually does work and doesn’t affect the taste.  You should probably also reduce the sugar to about 150g in total.  This will not make these cookies magically fabulous for diabetes, but it will make them much less forbidden.

In terms of flavour changes, you have many, many options!  Dried sour cherries would be fabulous to replace the cranberries, and of course any other tangy dried fruit would have potential.  You might want to change your spices or chocolate to match – I have a feeling that a really good dried pineapple would go better with a pinch of allspice or cardamom, and a milk or white chocolate for example.  Or keep the cinnamon, and use 60g each of raisins, macadamia nuts and dark chocolate.  Yum.  The possibilities are endless. And speaking of chocolate, you are, of course, allowed to use dark chocolate chips.  I’m just a chocolate snob – I like my chocolate to taste really dark, and for that, you pretty much need to buy it in a block and chop it up.  Sorry.  Nuts are, of course, a traditional mix-in for this sort of thing.  Hazelnut would work very well here, I think.

Go wild – this is one cookie recipe that gives you a lot of scope, so make the most of it and enjoy!


This time last year…

Recipe: Macaroni Cheese with Chipotle Chilli and Cruciferous Vegetables

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3 comments for “Recipe: Oaty Chocolate Cranberry Biscuits

  1. September 24, 2012 at 2:05 am

    I do love how cranberries and dried sour cherries give that extra razzledazzle to cookies.

    • September 25, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Me too! They are so pretty and so tangy and so healthy that you really can’t lose…

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