Cookie Palooza: Cranberry Pecan Cookies

While peppermint gets all the glory during this time of the year there are other flavors and ingredients that are reminiscent of the season. Cranberries for one. While the sweetened dried ones and the canned jellied version can be found in your supermarket year-round, it’s this time of the year when those fresh tart berries pop up in your grocery section. And while most nuts are popular around this time due to gift baskets, those roasted chestnuts and so forth it’s pecans that really make the rounds thanks to Pecan Pie.  So, I decided to combine the two – cranberries and pecans – for today’s Cookie Palooza cookie with a Cranberry Pecan Cookie that also has some chocolate in it.

These cookies are pretty straightforward to make. Start off by creaming together the butter and sugars, add the eggs and then the vanilla extract. Whisk the dry ingredients separately and then add it to the butter mixture and finally stir in the add-ins; the dried cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips. If you like your cookies to be a little nuttier feel free to add in more pecans. And one thing I have started doing is refrigerating my cookie dough before scooping and baking. I didn’t want to struggle to scoop my dough, so I refrigerated it for only 30 minutes. Enough to get it chilled, but still soft enough to easily scoop with a cookie scoop.

These cookies are perfectly chocolaty, just the right amount of crunch thanks to the pecans and have a little tangy sweetness to them thanks to the cranberries. The perfection addition to any cookie platter this holiday season!

Cranberry Pecan Cookies

  • Servings: 36 Cookies
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2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and then the vanilla extract.

With the mixer on low add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Add the chocolate chips, pecans and cranberries and beat until combined.

Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cookies are set.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn Spatula

Cranberry Orange Walnut Muffins

Not sure why, but, I had two bags of dried cranberries in my pantry that were quickly approaching their expiration date. They were probably on sale or I was planning on eating more salads than I have been. Either way, I decided it was time to start using them before they did expire. Cranberries are always a good add in for baked goods since they offer a pop of sweetness and do have health benefits. I like to think they are still healthy even after they are baked into something sweet. I was debating between cookies or muffins, but, I opted to go with the muffins… A Cranberry-Orange Walnut Muffin.

The recipe for these is pretty straight forward. Next time I make them though I will cut the sugar in half (1/2 cup as opposed to a 1 cup). They were delicious, but, I just found them to be a tad bit sweet and since I normally eat muffins for breakfast and I am not big into sweets for breakfast I think I would enjoy them more with less sugar. Also, since you are using freshly squeezed orange juice and if your orange is sweet and then you add sugar and dried cranberries on top of that you are getting sugar from all sides so it’s best to cut back on the actual sugar you are adding in. They will still be delicious and even a bit better for you. And while the original recipe called to make these in a 12-cup cupcake tin, I opted to bake them in 6-cup muffin tin instead. I prefer bakery sized muffins than cupcake sized ones. To accommodate the extra batter, I placed my muffin liners in ramekins on a baking sheet and baked them as normal.

Cranberry Orange Walnut Muffins

  • Servings: 8 Large Muffins / 12 Small Muffins
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1 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice*

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

*I used 3 large navel oranges


Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder & soda together. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the orange juice & zest. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a handheld mixer on medium speed. Add the egg and continue beating until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the orange juice mixture. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-25 minutes for smaller muffins and 30-35 minutes for larger muffins. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing muffins from pans and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from Fisher Nuts

Brussels Sprouts & Cranberry Sauce

So, I’m working a little backwards here. Yesterday I brought you a delicious pie you can serve for Thanksgiving dessert and today I am bringing you two sides. A roasted Brussels sprouts dish and homemade cranberry sauce. Come back on Sunday for Slow Cooker Sunday where I will tell you how I slow cooked a turkey breast – see, definitely working backwards!

I know Brussels sprouts is not a favorite vegetable for many, but, I think the reason is because they are not preparing them the best way. Yes, they have a bitter flavor, just like broccoli rabe, but, when you season and roast them in the oven they take on a whole new flavor. Even the little charred sections taste good. And, they get perfectly tender. The recipe I recently tried called for them to be roasted in the oven and then topped with a glaze made with grapes, honey & scallions… YUM! I can’t wait to make it again and I am pretty sure it will make any Brussels sprout skeptic think twice about that vegetable that looks like a baby cabbage.

I grew up eating cranberry sauce from a can, not the whole berry sauce one, but, the jellied version. It’s weird, I won’t eat the whole berry one from a can because I feel like it’s too fake but I will eat the jellied version. Yes, I will still eat it with my turkey and stuffing. I don’t really know what prompted me to try making cranberry sauce myself since I was content with the can stuff, but, I’ve used the same recipe now for quite a few years and it’s one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. I look forward to a sandwich with leftover turkey warmed up with melted cheese (preferably provolone) and topped with cranberry sauce every year after Thanksgiving. I am dreaming of it now as I type… LOL! So, what is so special about this sauce? I think it’s the simplicity of it. There are no out of the box ingredients. It’s simply a bag of fresh cranberries, sugar, water, fresh ginger, orange zest, a cinnamon stick, ground cloves and salt. I tried getting a little fancy one year, but, it just didn’t top the simple yet delicious taste of this cranberry sauce. Make a few days before you intend to use to really get the best flavor.

So, I hope these two dishes will make their way to your table, or, they have given you ideas of something else to try.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Grapes


2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups red seedless grapes

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 bunch scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper



Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 450 F.

Toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Spread them on the hot baking sheet and roast, tossing halfway through until tender and charred in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.

While the Brussels sprouts are in the oven…. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the grapes and thyme and cook until the grapes starting to burst, stirring occasionally. Add the scallions and honey. Increase the heat to high and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until the juices thicken and the grapes are glazed. Season with salt and pepper.

Once ready, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a dish and drizzled the grape mixture over them

Recipe from Food Network


Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 Cups
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1 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves



In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of water with the sugar, cinnamon stick, ginger, orange zest, salt and cloves. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring until slightly thickened.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool before refrigerating

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Cranberry Cupcakes

While everyone is so focused on pumpkin being the “it” flavor of the Fall, another fruit quietly makes its way into the fold – albeit mainly to be a nice accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey… the cranberry. Granted most of us don’t (or won’t) eat raw cranberries due to their bitterness, but they are quite tasty when dried, blended into wonderful juice combinations (thanks Ocean Spray!) or made into a sauce (my personal favorite.) So when I came across a recipe for Cranberry Cupcakes  in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I had to try it.

To begin, I whisked together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a bowl and set it aside.


I then mixed together my wet ingredients. Starting with the sugar and butter, then adding in an egg and vanilla extract.


Next I added in the flour mixture and mixed it until the two mixtures were just incorporated.


And finally I added in sour cream, which allows for a denser cupcake. After mixing it with the mixer I gave it a couple of extra stirs with a spatula.


The batter was the perfect amount for 12 cupcakes.


I baked them for 20 minutes in a 350F preheated oven and voila…


Next, I made a small indentation in each of the cupcakes…


And then added in a few teaspoons of canned cranberry sauce into the indentation. Since the cupcakes are denser there are no concerns about them falling apart due to the liquid of the sauce.


While they cooled I made a Cranberry Buttercream Frosting.


Once they cooled completely I piped a 1M Swirl of frosting on each of the cupcakes.


Final verdict… They’re a keeper! Although next time I’m thinking of trying them with a different fruit, maybe blueberries.


Cranberry Cupcakes

Makes 12 Cupcakes

For The Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 to 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce

For The Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Dried cranberries, for topping

1. Make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

2. Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about 3 more minutes. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 more minutes.

3. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, then gently press the back of a small spoon into the center of each cupcake to make an indentation. Fill each indentation with a few teaspoons of cranberry sauce. Remove the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low; gradually add the remaining 2 cups confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high; beat in the cranberry sauce, vanilla and salt until combined. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes and top with dried cranberries.

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