Christmas cranberry, walnut & choc chip cookies
As I'm writing this I can feel the crowd of people outside my house staring into our windows. I've mentioned last year that I live on quite a well-known street that was the first to decorate their houses with Christmas lights back in the 50s. A Melbourne Christmas institution. It's a long street (about 2-3km) and a nice, free evening's entertainment for families to come over on a warm summer night and talk a long walk to see the lights. It's become pretty huge; the police make the road one-way and we even get tour buses from Gippsland! Last year about 100,000 people came through. Sheesh - I don't know how many millions of family Christmas photographs and videos I've appeared in, but it does make going to the toilet an exercise in modesty!
But anyway - the Christmas lights extravaganza doesn't start until Friday. When it gets dark. So why are there already hundreds of people walking down the street IN THE DAYLIGHT?!?!? Come back tomorrow WHEN IT'S DARK!! Sheesh!
So, with the Christmas spirit well upon us (thrust, some might say) I've got well into my Christmas baking. As we're going out to a restaurant this year on Christmas day, I can focus more attention on baking.
I came home last week in a baking mood, after having been sent a Choc Chip Cookie recipe to add to my collection. This one used almond meal and condensed milk in it, which attracted my attention. Mmm - biscuits with almond meal and condensed milk would equal moist, tender biscuits with a crispy crust. My sort of biscuits.
It was only as I had already started that I realised I had a packet of dried cranberries and a bag of walnuts I could use...and make these into Christmas biscuits. There are always pre-Christmas functions where cookies are welcome. So, I baked these up, and they're currently in storage in the freezer for when I need to bring them out. They seem to be freezing very well. I made them quite small as my experience has shown that people seem more likely to help themselves to a small one-bite treat when in company, rather than a huge discus, no matter how much we'd prefer to be stuffing our face with a huge choc chip discus. There's so much food around Christmas anyway that small bite items do well.
The taste combination is good, but for me I used a few too many dried cranberries. I'm not a huge fan of dried fruit, even the tangy taste of cranberries don't quite do it for me, but I'm sure others will love them when I bring them out soon. Now I'm off to do some more baking!
Read on for the recipe:
Christmas cranberry, walnut & choc chip biscuits
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
A few drops of vanilla essence
A pinch of salt (if you remember)
3/4 cup of plain flour
3/4 cup of almond meal (or flour if you don't have almond meal)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
A few splashes of dark rum (about 2-3 tablespoons)
Cream butter, sugar, condensed milk and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Sift dry ingredients together.
Combine all ingredients including choc chips, cranberries & walnuts. Splash in the rum. If the mixture seems too moist at this stage you can add a little extra flour.
Prepare a baking tray with Glad Bake (you don't need to grease it at all).
Roll mixture into balls. Place on the tray and flatten with a fork.
Bake at 170˚C for around 12 minutes (note baking time is longer if you have used all flour and no almond meal), until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack, and try not to eat them all before they are cool!