Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

I have a confession to make. *Takes a deep breath and sobs* No Amaretto was harmed in the making of this post. I lied!!! It’s just almond extract!!! *Throws myself at the mercy of the courts…. and cookie eaters. But, in my defense, how would Cranberry, White Chocolate and Almond Extract have sounded as a title? It needed excitement, pizzazz, oomph! Amaretto is exciting! Fine, maybe not so much, but you get my drift. So, when you make these cookies, just don’t tell anyone that the almond flavor is from almond extract and not amaretto. It will be our little secret. You, me and the 3 other people who actually read my blog. :-p

Now on to my whining weather report. WHAT HAPPENED TO AUTUMN!!!!??? It disappeared!! It’s the first week in November and I had to turn the A/C on last night because it was too hot in here to sleep comfortably. Who turned off the cold?! It is NOT, I repeat, NOT supposed to be 80 degrees during the day in November; not even in Kentucky. And other states that allow that nonsense need to stop it right now.

Because I said so.

On that note (as I watch two of my three readers back away slowly), let’s move on to the cookies.

I loved these. And they got the kid approved thumbs up too, which is always nice. One would think that any kid would give a thumbs up to cookies, but nope, not mine. With me having been baking all of their lives (heck, most of MY life) and running a food blog, they are more particular and have higher standards than the “normal” children. There is nothing more humorous than getting a verbose critique from a seven year old- “These are good momma, but they could be chewier/sweeter/crunchier”… whatever the specific food should be.

These have a nice nutty flavor from the toasted almonds. I deliberately toasted these a little browner than I usually do because I wanted a nuttier flavor. It worked wonderfully. So when you toast the almonds, get them to a nice medium brown color. Just make sure to give them a stir in the pan once to make sure they brown evenly. The cranberries added a nice tartness to the cookies and the white chocolate a creamy sweetness. Since these have oats and cranberries in them, feel free to eat them for breakfast. They’re good for you *coughcough*! Honest Injun! Even with the tablespoon of almond extract in these, the almond flavor is still fairly mild, so go ahead and add a teaspoon more if you want an extra punch of flavor.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (add an extra teaspoon if you want more almond flavor) almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (if you REALLY want to punch up the flavor, toast your oats for about 6 minutes or so at 350. Just make sure to stir once and also to let them cool COMPLETELY before adding them to the dough.)
  • 1 12 ounce package white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted at 350 until medium brown
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, at medium speed using a hand mixer cream together the butter, the brown sugar and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape the bowl down and add the eggs and egg yolk. Stir in the vanilla extract and the almond extract. Beat just until blended.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture. Stir in (use a nice heavy wooden spoon) the oats, cranberries, white chocolate and toasted almonds. Make sure to dig down there to the bottom of the bowl and stir so that you don’t have parts of the dough with no add ins in it.
  5. Make rounded tablespoons of the dough and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes; 12 if you want slightly chewier, 14 if you want crispier.  If, by chance, the dough is too soft to work with, cover the dough and throw it in the fridge for maybe 30 minutes, then proceed.
  6. Let cool on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes to give them a chance to firm up, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
  7. FYI- this dough freezes well. I made just part of the batch and have the rest frozen to use closer to Christmas.
Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Amaretto Oatmeal Cookies

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Here Piggie Piggie!!

I’m pretty sure that by now I’ve made it clear that I like pork… piggie… oinker… the other white meat… the… ok, I’ll stop now. But only because I can’t think of any other names for pork. Except for Wilbur.

Contrary to still popular belief, pork is not going to make your arteries clog up and run off screaming into the night (though I’d like photos if they do, please. That would be cool as hell to see. Just sayin’) nor does it need to be outrageously fatty NOR and this is the biggest nor (can a nor have a size?) does it have to be cooked until it is the texture of your shoe sole. I had been cooking mine to about 145 for many many years and was tickled to see that the pork people and the “we tell you what you are allowed to do with your food so that we don’t ship you off to a porkie re-education camp” people (hey, that’s a valid enough description) have started saying that I was right all along. I tihnk they were watching me and learned something is what it is *cough cough*

So for the longest time I had been wanting to try to make a stuffed pork loin but I was..well… chicken. I was afraid the process would be more trouble than it was worth, was afraid the stuffing would fall out and I would be left with hollow pork and was afraid I just wasn’t good enough.

But I did it. My slicing wasn’t very professional though in my defense my cheap arse knives didn’t help lol. And since the roast I used was quite large I could only roll it so much. Obviously, rolling meat that is thick is more difficult than rolling a thin piece of meat. (Am I the only one who is finding this whole train of thought rather disconcerting… almost obscene?)

But it was tasty as all git out (what the heck does that mean anyway?) no matter the thick pork (ok, now that DOES sound bad) or the poor cutting. And now that I’ve done it, I can only get better at it.

So give this a try. It tasted great (says the woman nibbling at a lukewarm piece of pork as I type this -and dripping everywhere) and for the most part, wasn’t difficult.

Fruity Rolled & Stuffed Pork Loin

  • 1 6 pound pork loin (If you use a smaller one, I’d leave the stuffing amounts the same)
  • 1 jar cranberry chutney (I got mine at whole foods a while back) or a can of whole berry cranberry sauce (If you use cranberry sauce, add about 1/4 cup of minced onions)
  • 2 small granny smith apples, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5 slices of bread, toasted and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Ok, the cutting part- First, to make it a bit easier, freeze your pork loin for about 30 minutes just to firm it up.
  2. Now rinse it off, dry it well then lay it out on a clean towel. Yes, you could use a cutting board but I am sure it will slide, making cutting more difficult.
  3. Lay the pork on it’s side and using a sharp knife (not a cheap wal mart one like I have lol) cut down through the roast ALMOST  to the bottom. Leave about a half inch edge.
  4. Lay the roast open as far as it will go. Using a sharp knife, again cut the thick side of the meat down to ALMOST the edge, leaving about a half inch edge.
  5. Do this until you can’t make another slice down. I did it twice with the large roast but probably could have done it three times had I been more sure of what I was doing so a smaller thinner roast would probably take two cuts.
  6. You will end up with a long more or less flat piece of meat. Lay it fully open and if necessary, pound it down to an even 1/2 inch or so thickness. Again, large roast; couldn’t really do this. Small one would be much easier. Cover meat and set aside.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. In a medium saucepan, mix the chutney, brown sugar, cherries and apples. Cook over medium heat until simmering and apples are starting to soften and cherries are swelling, about ten minutes
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the toast cubes. Let mixture cool for about 15 minutes.
  10. Spread fruit mixture over meat, leaving about a half inch border.
  11. Working from a short side, roll the meat up. Don’t roll too tightly or all your stuffing will end up leaking out.
  12. Tie the meat up in three or four areas with kitchen twine.
  13. Place in a foil lined 13×9 baking pan. Sprinkle with the herbs and spices and salt and pepper.
  14. Bake at 350 until a instant read meat thermometer stuck into the meat (NOT the stuffing) comes out with a temp of about 145 degrees, about 90 minutes (smaller roast; less time.)
  15. Let the roast sit for about ten minutes before slicing. NEVER cut a roast fresh out of the oven… all the juices will leak out. Letting meat rest insures that you have moister meat.
  16. Slice; drizzle with the pan juices and enjoy. Also… be proud of yourself. This wasn’t just making a box of mac and cheese. πŸ™‚



Not Yo Momma’s Cranberry Sauce

When it comes to holiday meals, especially Thanksgiving, I have a hard time choosing what I like best. I’m one of those people who, while I normally have the worlds worst appetite and usually have to be forced to eat (go figure… a food blogger who likes to cook but not to eat), loves Thanksgiving dinner and all the different parts of it. Mind you, I don’t actually EAT much of it the day I cook it because I’m too burnt out from cooking the food. But leftovers and I? We’re BFF’s big time.

When it comes to the poultry, I love all of them…. as I am eating them. I eat roast chicken, it’s my favorite. When I eat roast duck, IT’S my favorite. When I am gnawing on the tail of the turkey (don’t judge… it’s tasty. Plus it makes me smile when I eat it and remember how every year my dad would ask for the tail saying “Hon, save that for me. I’m wanting a little bit of tail right now” followed by a lewd snicker. πŸ˜› ), it becomes my favorite.

When I eat stuffing, I love that even though I don’t eat it much the rest of the year. Stove Top and I are NOT BFF’s and I’m too lazy to make homemade except on Thanksgiving.

I mentioned last post my love for sweet taters buried under a pound or five of mini marshmallows.

Mashed potatoes with approximately 37 sticks of butter in them? Yep… love them too.

But I think my favorite part of the meal may just be the cranberry sauce. I love the stuff. Canned and gelatinous with the ridge marks from the can on it, canned and with whole berries in it, home made and prepared with just berries, sugar and water, turned into chutney (one of my favorite ways of making it)… you name it, I’ll eat it… all of it… growling if you get too close and smacking any appendages that venture too near to my bowl of saucy Heaven.

Though I love it plain, I rarely make it plain. It’s too much fun to play around with the basic recipe. Cranberry sauce takes so well to other flavors. Add different fruits, add spices, extracts, booze, trees, raw offal (just making sure you’re paying attention again) and it tastes delicious. So, being me, aka the woman who can never ever follow a recipe, I never make it the same way twice.

I like to make it a few days ahead of time because it just gets better as the flavors have time to meld. So here’s the one we will be having this Thursday. If you’re wanting something a little different, give it a try. It’s sweet, tart, a little boozy :-P, spicy and just flat out delicious!

Brandy Spiked Spiced Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
  • 1 small tangerine, finely ground up in a food processor (peel and all)
  • 1/4 cup (give or take; however much you want to add ) orange marmalade
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brandy (you could sub whiskey or Grand Marnier)
  • 3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar (cider vinegar would work but I’m doing something tomorrow with raspberry vinegar so just go buy some πŸ˜› )
  • 1 5 ounce bag dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat when it boils and continue cooking until the berries pop. If you want a thicker sauce (I like it a little juicy so that when I serve it with turkey, the liquids run into and flavor everything else but I’m weird that way), cook longer until the liquid reduces down some
  3. Chill for at least 4 hours.
  4. Store tightly covered in the fridge until ready to serve. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks or so.

I Always Loved Count Chocula

Yes, that is a used jar with an old label there. I was too lazy to peel it all off. πŸ˜€


Though thinking about it and posting in all honesty, I’m not sure why I used past tense in that title; I STILL love Count Chocula the best. He’s my man. Don’t even try telling me he isn’t real and the relationship can never work. It’s fate that we stay together even when I am 96 years old and gumming oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ll just have to let the yummy chocolatey goodness sit in the milk a little longer is all. I’m also a sad portrait of a Cap’n Crunch addict but don’t tell the Count; he’s a jealous sort.

What are your favorite cereals. If you say you are madly in love with say, Shredded Wheat in soy milk I am going to worry about you. Same if you answer Grape Nuts. I mean c’mon, we’re all friends here… let’s quit trying to be all adult and pretend we really eat that crap for any other reason that it’s good for us and we know we need to take care of ourselves πŸ˜€ What cereal do you want when a cereal craving hits or you want something sweet and reminiscent of childhood?

Calvin is my hero btw.

While I like Count Chocula, I never cared for his friends, Boo-Berry and Franken Berry (that was today’s poor attempt at a lead in by the way. I wanted to make sure you caught it πŸ˜› ). Even as a kid, I knew the flavors were completely fake. They were like settling for a Tootsie Roll when what you really wanted was a Hershey bar but you only had a nickel (ok, a penny back in MY childhood but I’m hedging on that here. Shhh.). As an adult, I’m no different. I want real flavors when I’m eating not something made from chemicals and red dye number 4,328. Well, other than that Twinkie, Cheeto, Grape Laffy Taffy and Lemonheads issue. Those don’t count. Really. They don’t. Quit rolling your eyes at me youngun or I’ll put you to bed without dinner!

Going on the “I want real flavors” idea, today I made some homemade chutney. This is a canning recipe but it can be put into refrigerator or freezer containers too. It’s won’t keep forever but it will last about 2 months it kept refrigerated and longer in the freezer. Canning it however gives you the lovely sweet tart berry flavor for a year or twelve. I had some blueberries I needed to use as well as cranberries in the freezer (in case you didn’t know, you can buy a ton of them in season and they will keep for up to a year in the freezer. Just an FYI.) that I wanted to tell you.)  It is sweet and also quite tart as well as spicy and savory. It would be great with a nice salty piece of ham or a rich fatty pork chop or a piece of roast chicken. I can also see using it with ye olde block of cream cheese and crackers. Let me know what you think.

Spicy Sweet Blueberry Cranberry Chutney

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups raspberry vinegar
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (adjust to personal taste)
  • 7 cups blueberries (about 4 containers)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (NOT canned sauce)
  1. In a large non stick saucepan, stir together sugar, vinegar, onion, ginger, cinnamon, red pepper and salt. Stir well to mix. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the fruits. Return to boiling, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. Stir frequently because this WILL stick to the bottom if you don’t. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until desired consistency. It will thicken up some as it cools so don’t let it get too thick while cooking. You want it thickened but still syrupy.
  4. Ladle the chutney into hot sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space.. Make sure to wipe the rims well because anything left on the rims now can be future germ territory later. Process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Let cool and store in a cool dark place. It’s like Count Chocula; it likes the dark. πŸ˜›

I know; not the worlds most exciting photography today. It's hard to really showcase a dark colored condiment. Just make it and eat it πŸ˜›