Friday, 30 November 2012

White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries Cookies

Food blogs are more than a collection of recipes. In their unique, individual style, each blogger allows us a little peek into their lives, homes and thoughts. They share with us the excitement of the special days and the mundaneness of every day. They tell us about the joy of their happy times and their anguish during the hard times. They take us along with them on their travels, from a journey back to their roots to some of the most beautiful places in the world. They reveal what is occupying their thoughts from the philosophical and sublime to the humdrum and banal. As a reader, you smile, discover, empathise, identify and move on.
And then you come across someone whose story stays with you. Their life is about channelling their toughest adversity for a greater cause. Of a personal loss that has inspired a lifelong mission. Today's post is about one such couple.

Sometime last year, Dorie Greenspan wrote about the launch of a book on bake-sale recipes by Gretchen Witt. It led me to their website and to the inspirational work they do. In 2007, Gretchen and Larry Witt's two-year old son, Liam was diagnosed with Stage-4 Cancer. As they grappled with their son's illness, they discovered that one of the main reasons why children with cancer do not survive is because of lack of funding for research into effective therapies for them. So, during the holiday season in 2007, Gretchen along with 250 volunteers organised a larger-than-life bake sale with the goal of baking 96,000 cookies. That event raised US$ 400,000 for paediatric cancer research.
Inspired by the success of that bake sale, the Witts founded 'Cookies for Kids' Cancer' in 2008. Sadly, Liam lost his battle to cancer in 2011. However, his parents remain committed to continue their work, to raise funds for research and support through bake sales. Drop by the website to learn more about them and their  work. It is also full of information on how to organise a bake sale.

While browsing through their website, I came upon the recipe section that has a little collection of cookie recipes that one could use for a bake sale. That was when I decided I would try one of their recipes as a way to introduce you to the Witts and their work.
I zeroed in on the white chocolate and dried cranberries cookies. For the past month, this 'trendy' combination of white chocolate and cranberries has caught my attention from almost every second blog I've visited.

The recipe is as straightforward as any cookie recipe. Being a bake sale recipe ensures that it is easy to follow and the results will be a crowd-pleaser. The tart, dried cranberries provide a beautiful counter-balance to the sweetness of the white chocolate, something my palate really appreciated.
What I enjoyed most about these buttery, slightly crumbly cookies is the abundance of the white chocolate and cranberries in each cookie. This is not one of those cookies where you have to go searching for the chocolate chips or the cranberries. Much to your delight, you will encounter them generously with each bite. If anything, I should have made them smaller. Mine turned out slightly on the jumbo side. Not that anyone complained!!

These cookies are a welcome change to the regular chocolate-chip cookies and warrant that you give them a shot. But more than that, drop by the website of 'Cookies for Kids' Cancer' and be inspired. As for me, a bake sale just got on my list of things 'to do'!!  
White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries Cookies

Recipe (mildly adapted) source: Cookies for Kids Cancer

Makes approximately 24 cookies
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, pulsed well in food processor ( I used Quaker's)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips/ white chocolate, roughly chopped
Cooking Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 170 deg C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the butter and sugars in a bowl and with a mixer, mix until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the chocolate and cranberries and mix again.
  • Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. 
  • Transfer to the oven and bake until the cookies begin to brown at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Cool on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Store in an air-tight container.


  1. The cookies look wonderful!!! Loved the presentation. Looks awesome :)

  2. White chocolate and cranberries...what's not to love the combo in these cookies!

    1. I know!! This is the first time I've tried this combination.. brilliant!!! the sweet and the tangy...

  3. That's so inspiring, thanks for sharing the story and the cookies!

    1. The moment I read their story.. I just had to share it.. pure inspiration!!

  4. Lovely post, pictures and words! I'm simply smitten :)

  5. What a terrific stack of cookies!

  6. I have organized bake sales with other parents when my daughter was in elementary school. Now they are more into pizza and fashion shows when they want to raise funds. The cookie recipe quite interesting, though. And It was a sheer coincidence that I also published a similar recipe last week.

    1. I've heard about bake sales.. and about time I got involved with one.. and put my nascent baking skills for a better purpose!!! Heading over to see your cookie recipe.. knowing you.. it will be a healthier and better version of these!! :))

  7. Such a sad yet touching story. I am always inspired by people who can see beyond the storm that is blowing in their lives and decide not only to make it through but to do something to help others that go through the same thing.
    Thank you for the link and the story Saravani
    As for the cookies, I too have been seeing cranberries and white chocolate all over and they have been on my list of things to try
    Your cookies sound like the perfect treat with a cup of tea

    1. I know.. their story is truly admirable! something in it for all of us.. to rise above our selfish concerns.. and help the world around us. Do try the cookies, Sawsan.. you'll enjoy them!!

  8. I had heard about the Cookies for Cancer fundraiser from Gretchen Witt before and I admire everything about the Witt family and their admirable efforts to raise funds for cancer research! How important to raise awareness! Well done and your cookies do look delectable!

    1. Isnt their story so uplifting and heart-rending at the same time?! There's a lesson in it for all of us..

  9. What a gorgeous stack of cookies, S! Lovely presentation and incredibly sweet of you to raise awareness!

    1. Thanks A!! Was so taken in with what they've done.. I just had to share it..


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