Cranberry Oat Cookies With Almonds & Chocolate

My toddler likes to think she’s the original cookie monster. She can inhale a whole batch of cookies in a couple of sittings – if allowed to. Though I am not much of a cookie person myself, we do go through quite a few batches around here. I prefer baking cookies that have a savory quality to them. I also need them to taste less like a dessert and more like a healthy-ish snack that wont have me running to closest treadmill after snack time.

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Fortunately, my current food idol, Ottolenghi, has just what I need. His latest release, Sweet, is my favorite bedtime reading. I plan to bake my way through the book and this recipe is a great starting point. It has something for everyone. It is sweet without being excessively so. It’s chewiness is punctuated by the crunch of the nuts. The tartness of the cranberries plays beautifully with the bittersweet notes of chocolate.

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That’s not all. This recipe has the goodness of wholewheat flour and oats. The cookie dough doesn’t need to be chilled before baking and the cookies will stay good for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.

Have I convinced you to bake a batch yet? Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 50 grams or 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp
  • White whole wheat flour – 25 grams or 3 tbsp
  • Old fashioned oats – 50 grams or 1/2 cup plus 1.5 tbsp
  • Whole almonds – 50 grams or 1/3 cup*
  • Dried cranberries – 42 grams or 1/3 cup
  • Orange zest – 1/2 tbsp or the zest of a small orange
  • Orange juice – 1 tbsp
  • Unsalted butter – 75 grams or 1/3 cup (softened to room temperature)
  • Granulated sugar – 34 grams or 1/4 cup minus 1 tbsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Bittersweet chocolate bar (at least 60%) – 3 oz or 90 grams

*I used slivered almonds instead of whole almonds while testing the recipe and they turned out just as good. You will need 2/3 cup of slivered almonds. You can skip the roasting step and add them to the recipe as is

Yield – 10 to 12 cookies that are 2.5 inches in diameter. Recipe can be doubled

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread the whole almonds out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes till they’re just roasted. Set them to cool on a rack. Once cooled, chop them roughly into bite sized pieces. Set aside. If using slivered almonds you can skip this step
  • Increase the oven temperature to 375 F or 190 degree Celsius and preheat
  • Rough chop the dried cranberries. Soak them in the orange juice for about 10 minutes
  • In a medium bowl combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, almonds and salt and set aside
  • In the bowl of a mixer cream the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest till it turns light and fluffy and increases in volume. This takes at least 5 minutes
  • Add the flour-almond mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and whip to combine
  • Add the cranberries soaked in orange juice and whip briefly
  • Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto it and gently bring it together into a ball
  • Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper or cling film into a rough circle which is 1/4th of an inch thick
  • Using a 2.5 inch cookie cutter punch out the cookies. Using a spatula gently transfer the cookies onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Place the cookies about an inch apart. They do not expand in the oven
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes till they are uniformly golden brown
  • Cool the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack
  • While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a double boiler (set a small sauce pan with an inch of water in it over the stovetop on low heat. Place the bowl with chocolate over this saucepan and stir periodically till the chocolate melts). Set aside to cool slightly
  • Dollop about a teaspoon of chocolate on the cookies and spread it out evenly using the back of a spoon. Set the cookies back on the rack to cool completely and till the chocolate sets
  • The cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week

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Recipe adapted from the Cranberry and Oat Cookies recipe from his latest book Sweet

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Orange and Honey Madeleines

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I did not know what Madeleines were, to be honest. I spotted the pan in the baking section of my favorite Home Goods store and thought they’d make interesting brownie or cookie moulds. It was only when I got home and googled them that my interest was truly piqued. One look at their delicate shape, their soft cake-cookie texture and their sophisticated simplicity and I was deeply in love!

They combine the scrumptiousness of cakes with the portability of cookies. They look good, they taste great and are very easy to make. What more does a blogger want?

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The fresh orange zest folded through the batter makes these tea cakes absolutely irresistible! The orange glaze I used is optional. Of course it sets off a flavor bomb in your mouth and makes you immediately crave another bite. But these cookie-cakes are still great without it.

You will not be able to stop at one. I initially planned to make a batch or two in the name of recipe testing. But they were such a super hit with friends and family that I ended up baking 4 batches. In two days. It’s a fool proof recipe that you ought to try too. The sooner the better!

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You do need a special madeleine pan for this project. It is quite an inexpensive piece of equipment and you can put it to other uses such as making brownies or chocolates. So I definitely recommend getting one.

Ingredients

Madeleines

  • All purpose flour – 75 grams or 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder –  3/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Granulated sugar – 55  grams or 1/4 cup
  • Large egg – 1  (at room temperature)
  • Vanilla extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Orange zest – 1/2 tsp
  • Unsalted butter – 70 grams or 5 tbsp
  • Honey – 1 and 1/2 tsp

Orange glaze

  • Icing sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice – 2 to 3 tbsp

Yield – 10 madeleines

Method

  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once it is all melted set aside 1 tbsp of the butter. We will use this to grease our madeleine pan. Add the honey to the remaining butter and continue to warm it through on low heat, stirring gently till the honey is completely mixed in. Set this aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes
  • In another bowl whip the egg using a whisk attachment till it turns foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg while continuing to whip. Once all the sugar has been added stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on medium high speed till the egg-sugar mixture doubles in volume and the whisk leaves a visible trail when lifted from the bowl. This takes at least 5 minutes
  • Add the vanilla extract and whip briefly to combine
  • Sift the flour mixture over the egg-sugar mixture. Add in the orange zest and gently fold everything together using a spatula just till all the dry ingredients are combined.
  • Pour in the butter-honey mixture and fold it through the batter with a spatula till it is combined. Do not over mix
  • Cover the mixing bowl with a clingfilm and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours
  • While the batter is chilling, brush all  the moulds in the madeleine pan with the reserved 1 tbsp of butter and set it in the fridge to chill too. Both the batter and the pan need to be cold before going into the oven
  • While the batter is chilling preheat the oven to 350 F or 175 degree Celsius
  • After an hour, spoon the batter into the moulds using a 1 tablespoon measure. This ensures you get the right quantity of batter into each mould and they all turn out uniform

batter

  • Place the madeleine pan on the center rack of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. The madeleines should turn golden brown around the edges, have a hump in the center and should bounce back with touched lightly
  • Remove the pan from the oven and set it to cool on a wire rack
  • Take the madeleines off the pan after 5 minutes and continue to cool them on the rack
  • While  the madeleines are cooling combine the glaze ingredients together. Dip the still warm madeleines into the glaze to coat and place them back on the wire rack till the glaze sets.

These madeleines are best when eaten warm, straight out of the oven. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Warm them up in the microwave for 5 to 7 seconds before serving.

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Recipe adapted from Tasting Table and Epicurious

Almond & Oat Cookies

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I don’t bake cookies as often as I should. I have a long list of cookie recipes that I want to try but have not gotten round to yet. These cookies are on the top of that list. These cookies should, in fact, top every cookie list out there. They’re crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. They are thin and light. They are rich and buttery. They have almonds and oatmeal (my favorite cookie ingredient).

You see what I’m talking about!

 

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Heads up – this cookie uses up a lot of butter and sugar – that’s where the ‘rich and buttery’ trait comes from. But let me tell you, this cookie is worth every single calorie. I have had half a dozen of these over the weekend and I have no guilt! None.

So quick and easy to make. Just whip butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla and then add the all purpose and oat flour mixture.

 

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Stir chopped almonds through the dough and you’re ready to scoop!

 

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They go oh so well with coffee! I am definitely making these again. With Amaretto. For sure.

 

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Yield – 32 cookies

Ingredients

  • Salted butter – 3/4 cup*
  • Light brown sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Large egg – 1
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp
  • Oat flour – 1/2 cup (directions given below)
  • Finely chopped almonds – 1/2 cup

*You can use unsalted butter too. Just add 1/8 tsp of salt to your dry ingredients

Method

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 F or 177 degree Celsius
  • Pulse half a cup of rolled oats or old fashioned oats in a food processor till you end up with a fine powder. This is oat flour
  • In a medium sized bowl combine all purpose flour and oat flour and whisk to combine
  • In a larger bowl whip butter and sugars together with a mixer till it turns light and fluffy. This takes 5 to 7 minutes
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and whip again for a minute till they are thoroughly combined
  • Next add the dry ingredients to the wet in three batches, whipping briefly each time to combine
  • Add the finely chopped almonds and stir them through the cookie dough with a spatula
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Using a 1 tablespoon measure as a scoop, drop cookie dough onto the sheet with a gap of at least 3 inches between each scoop. Gently flatten each scoop of dough just a little. These cookies spread a lot!
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes till the edges turn golden brown
  • Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Do not attempt to move the cookies while they are still warm. They may break. They harden only when cooled
  • Store in an airtight container. If you find that the cookies soften after a couple of days put them back in a 350 F oven for 2 to 3 minutes and they will crisp up again
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Recipe adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate and More

Baked Churros

That’s right! Baked, not fried.

I’ve been wanting to make a baked version of these insanely addictive treats for quite some time now. My mom absolutely loves them and I so wanted to bake her a batch while she was here, visiting us. But every time we went out to eat she would skip the entree and order a plate of churros for herself. I did not want to double up on those calories so I kept delegating this recipe to the bottom of my baking to-do list.

Then I found the perfect motivation. I made a batch of Smitten Kitchen’s Hot Fudge Sauce. This stuff is indeed the bomb. I want to put it over everything! And what goes better with chocolate sauce than churros?

I mean, just check this out!

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It’s easy to make – half an hour from beginning to end – and it’s something you can easily whip up for company. Best part is, no special equipment needed. Just a saucepan, spatula and some elbow grease!

Let’s get started

Yield – 24 Churros each 4 inches long

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/3 cup
  • Large eggs – 3 (at room temperature)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup (If using salted butter leave out salt from the dry ingredients)
  • Light brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – 1 cup
  • Vanilla extract -1 tsp
  • Granulated sugar with 1 tsp of nutmeg or cinnamon for dusting finished churros – 1/3 cup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 F or 205 degree Celsius
  • Add butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt (if using) and water to a medium sized saucepan and place it on medium heat. Stir occasionally till the sugars and butter melt completely
  • Let the liquid come to a boil and then take it off the heat
  • Add in the vanilla extract and flour to the hot liquid and stir vigorously till a smooth dough is formed and it begins to gather around the spatula
  • Make a well in the center of the dough and and the first egg. Stir vigorously again till the egg is completely incorporated. It takes a couple of minutes. You will see the dough getting smoother and shinier after the egg is mixed in
  • Mix the other two eggs one at a time stirring thoroughly after each addition. Here’s a visual guide. The image on the right was taken after the three eggs were added

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  • Fill the dough into a piping bag fitted with a wide open star tip and pipe the dough in straight lines on a parchment lined sheet tray. I piped them about 3.5 to 4 inches long

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  • Spray or lightly brush the piped dough with oil. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes
  • When done the churros will be crisp and golden brown on the outside and will slide around easily on the tray
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes
  • Take granulated sugar and nutmeg (or cinnamon) in a wide bowl and mix. Toss warm churros in the sugar till they are lightly coated. Serve!

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Notes – These churros are best eaten fresh, right out of the oven. You can dip them in any sauce of your choice – melted chocolate, salted caramel, fudge – all work great! If you want to make these churros in advance, cool them and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, warm them in a preheated oven at 350 F or 180 degree Celsius for 5 minutes and then toss them in the sugar – nutmeg mixture 

Recipe adapted from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt

Almond Flour Cookies


My toddler is a cookie addict. If she could have her way she’d have cookies for breakfast every single day. Now, I could get behind that sentiment too but I’m sure I’m just one chocolate chip cookie away from busting out of my new pair of jeans. Sigh!

I’ve been looking high and low for a low cal cookie recipe that also tastes delicious. I wanted a light cookie but just didn’t want it to taste like it was diet friendly – you get me?


This cookie fits that job description perfectly! It’s light, delicate, sweet, crisp on the outside and soft and chewy inside. Gluten free. No butter. No oil. In other words – a dream come true!

Bonus – it’s unbelievably easy to make.

Just mix almond flour, sugar and zest in a bowl


Whip egg white and vanilla extract mixture to soft peaks


Fold egg white into flour mixture and scoop onto a cookie sheet. See those little orange flecks? Beautiful flavor!


Although these cookies are fantastic by themselves, something about their pointy ends made me want to dip them in dark chocolate. Yeah! That was a good move!

The cookies were gone in under 24 hours  You’ll definitely want to double this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Blanched Almond Flour – 1 cup
  • Granulated sugar – 3 tbsp
  • Orange zest – 1/4 tsp approx (zest of a small orange)
  • Large egg white – 1
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
  • White distilled vinegar – 1/2 tsp
  • Chocolate chips – 1/3 cup (optional)
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 tbsp (optional)

Yield – 18 small cookies

Method

  • Preheat oven to 325 F or 162 degree Celsius
  • In a mixing bowl combine almond flour, granulated sugar and orange zest and set aside
  • Take vinegar in a separate (clean!) bowl and with a paper towel wipe down the entire bowl with the vinegar. This makes sure your egg whites whip up well
  • Add the egg white to this bowl along with the vanilla extract and whip with a whisk or hand blender till you get soft peaks
  • Add this egg white mixture to the almond flour mixture and combine gently with a spatula. It will look crumbly initially but it will come together
  • Scoop a teaspoon of the dough and using a second teaspoon form a quenelle shaped cookie by going back and forth between the two spoons. I was not too successful, as you can see. You can just form small balls of the dough and flatten them slightly on the cookie sheet
  • Space the cookies about an inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes
  • The cookies will not spread. The cookies are done when they turn golden brown around the edges
  • Allow them to cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes and  then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely
  • Optional glaze – Melt the chocolate chips and butter over a double boiler or in the microvave. Stir until smooth. Dip each cookie into the chocolate and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet till the chocolate sets


These cookies are of course, best eaten fresh but you can store them at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. Anything longer than 3 days, I would recommend storing them in the refrigerator as they tend to get soft.

Recipe adapted from Almond Cookies over at Taste Love and Nourish