Last week I got to hang out with a dear friend, who I met as a result of losing Archie. Her and her husband lost their little girl last year and reached out to Pete and I when they heard our news. They’re a wonderful and inspiring couple and I’m so glad our babies have brought us together. Our meet up was an extra special one because my lovely friend was heavily pregnant and 6 days away from having their 2nd little girl. I can’t even imagine how terrifying it must be to go through pregnancy again, not knowing, expecting the worst… So fraught with anxiety and fear, but my friend was honest and open and coping incredibly and it was a real honour to spend time with her.
I didn’t know what to take, as I knew she wouldn’t want things for the baby. I didn’t want any gifts for Archie before I had him, and that was before I knew how our story would end. I was superstitious and have never felt it was right to buy babies things before they are born. I figured she’d get lots of pampering treats, as thats the next obvious (but heavenly!) choice, so settled on food (obviously!). Home cooked food for the freezer. I made a slow cooked ragu, and packaged it in little foil containers, and also a few logs of cookie dough. Everyone needs a sweet treat now and then, and this way she can make a whole load or just a few, whenever she needs a sweet hit.
And for the rest of us? Well these are perfect for the Christmas period, when unexpected visitors drop by. And even though they don’t look like much they’re bloomin’ delicious.
CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY AND CINNAMON COOKIES
Makes around 30 (if you want them as freezer cookies, just pop the well wrapped cookie logs into the freezer and slice off discs of the dough when you need them)
- 100g dried cranberries, chopped
- 150ml orange juice
- 175g plain flour
- 2 heaped tablespoons of oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 150g butter, at room temperature
- Finely grated zest of an orange
- 1 large egg, free range or organic
- 50g dark chocolate chips
- 125g light soft brown sugar
- 60g granulated sugar
If you have time, or remember, leave the cranberries to soak in orange juice over night. Alternatively place both in a small pan, simmer until they just start to bubble and then remove from the heat and leave to one side for 20 minutes, or until cooled down.
In a bowl mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt and leave to one side.
In a freestanding mixer (or by hand if you don’t have one) beat the butter for a couple of minutes until creamy and then add the orange zest and both types of sugar. Beat for a few minutes on a medium speed, until pale and smooth, and then add the egg. Mix in half of the dry ingredients, scraping the sides in between, then add the cranberries and chocolate chips followed by the remaining flour mix. Beat so that everything is just combined, you don’t want to over work the dough.
Tear three sheets of cling film and lay them out. Divide the mixture between the three sheets, spooning it into a log shape down the centre. You are aiming for 3 logs of cookie dough, each around 4cm diameter and about 15cm long. Don’t worry too much if they are not perfect, use the cling film to help mould the dough into a compact log and roll it up. Twist the ends and pop in the fridge for an hour to firm up. Alternatively, make sure the dough is well covered and pop in the freezer.
When you are ready to bake them just slice off a 1.5cm disc of dough and pop onto a lined baking tray. Leave a few centimetres between the biscuits, as they will spread, and bake in a preheated oven at 180/ gas mark 4 for 11-12 minutes, or until golden. If baking from frozen give them an extra minute.
When they are ready leave the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes to set before transferring to a cooling rack. Perfect wintery Christmas treats.