Friday, January 25, 2008

<3 trader joe's

I really appreciate small markets like Andronico's and Berkeley Bowl. They not only carry unique foodstuffs that you can't find at those impersonal chain supermarkets (i.e. Safeway) but usually the quality is better and the produce fresher. I mean, come on, why buy a jar of Jiffy's peanut butter that's been package god-knows-how-long-ago when you can get a container of honey roasted peanut butter that you freshly ground yourself. I'll be the first to admit, living in the Bay area has completely spoiled me. A Trader Joe's recently opened not too far from my apartment (relatively speaking), greatly adding to my joy and eating pleasure. I love their white stilton with dried apricots, tiramisu gelato, and huge hunks of Ghiradelli chocolate. I got a piece of white chocolate and made these white chocolate walnut cranberry cookies. I thought the combination of white chocolate and cranberries would be strange, so I made a batch without cranberries. I definitely like the cookies with. The tartness of the cranberries adds a freshness and cuts through the sweetness of the dough. You can soak the cranberries in either juice or alcohol until they're plump. I also tossed in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts because I personally like nuts in my cookies. I had them already toasted, but untoasted would also be fine.

White Chocolate Walnut Cranberry Cookies

makes about 2 dozen small cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon cranberry or orange juice, or 1 tablespoon rum or calvados
3/4 cup white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Soak dried cranberries in juice or liquor.
Cream butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl, and add into butter mixture. Mix until combined. Fold in cranberries, chocolate chunks, and walnuts. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degrees preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven while cookies are still soft in the center and let cool on sheet.


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