Our church, along with about 20 other churches in our community, is putting on Christmas In The Park this Sunday. This is a wonderful celebration of the birth of our Savior which includes a live nativity scene, children’s petting zoo with manger animals, lots of joyful music, and cookies, cookies, cookies. We need lots of cookies donated for the event, so I’ve been having a baking blizzard in my home kitchen. I modified my agape oatmeal cookie recipe (November 2015 archives) by adding a little orange zest and white chocolate chips along with dried cranberries to make the cookies more Christmas-y. This is my Christmas cookie variation:
Cream together: 1 cup shortening + 3/4 cup sugar + 3/4 cup brown sugar.
Mix in: 2 eggs + 1 tsp quality Mexican vanilla + 1 tsp orange zest (zest from 1/2 orange).
Sift together: 1+1/2 cups unbleached flour + 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.
Gradually add and mix flour mixture into creamed mixture.
Measure into glass measuring cup: 1 cup dried cranberries. Pour boiling water over dried fruit and let it soak to plump. Meanwhile…
Stir into cookie dough mixture: 3 cups old-fashioned oats (not the quick kind) + 1/2 cup white chocolate chips.
Then stir in: plumped fruit, well strained. (I make it sound easy, but stirring oats and mix-ins into cookie dough is a bit of a workout.)
Scoop cookie dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet. (Pampered Chef small scoop is a perfect size for scooping cookie dough.) Bake @ 350* 10-13 minutes, until cookies are just lightly browned on top.
Cool on cookie sheet for a couple minutes; Remove cookies to wire rack to continue cooling.
Serve with love! Merry Christmas!
A couple notes: 1) I omit the nuts when baking for such a huge event, but 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios or pecans would be nice if nuts are safe for everyone in your crowd. 2) To enhance the dried cranberries with extra flavor, rehydrate them in apple or cranberry juice instead of water.