By Nancy R. Wilson
This was developed one day from a recipe for Cherry Garcias, when I discovered that I had no dried cherries, pecans or white baking chips. The substitutions made a whole new cookie: an instant success (June 2008).
The Story: When the missionaries from New England landed in Hawai’i they brought cranberries, a few bits of chocolate and a modest supply of brandy (for medicinal use only). The natives greeted them with macadamia nuts, and the happy result of this encounter is recreated in these cookies. Aloha!
2 cup dried cranberries
1 c brandy
1 tsp baking soda
3 c flour
1 c butter
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 T vanilla
1 c each dark chocolate chips and
chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
Soak dried cranberries in brandy to cover. Let sit 30 minutes or while you mix the dough.
Whisk together flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture until combined. Fold in cranberries, chips and nuts.
Refrigerate dough 30 to 45 minutes to firm up.
Drop dough by scoop or tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets (I always use parchment paper . . makes clean-up so easy!), about 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. (Test: firm at the edges, soft on top, no longer glossy.) Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheets before removing to racks to cool completely. Store in a covered container.
Yield: about 36 good-sized cookies.
Recipe can easily be cut in half for smaller (or fewer) cookies(or multiplied, of course).
I have been soaking the cranberries longer . . . up to a couple of days. When I am short of time, 30 seconds to a minute in the microwave also softens them and makes them absorb the brandy. I soak them in a pint jar, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon. You can add some of the extra brandy to the cookie dough if it seems too stiff. You’ll probably have cranberry-flavored brandy left over; we call it “crandy”. Not a bad liqueur, served over ice. If you don’t want to use brandy, I suppose you could soak them in apple juice or cranberry juice to plump them up a little.
For a dairy-free version you could use butter-flavored Crisco sticks, since it now has no trans-fats, but add a little water (according to instructions on the Crisco package).
Chilling the dough is optional . . . worked fine without it.