When Katrina and I first met, I had just started to groove as a home cook. I was always learning new things, experimenting with recipes, techniques, never making the same thing twice. She loved that I had the passion for cooking, because she didn’t – and wasn’t afraid to say it. She did, however, have a passion for baking.
I did not.
I hated baking. There were too many rules in baking. Measurements had to be precise. Temperatures and baking times were unforgiving. Add too much sugar (or worse, not enough) and things went south. If your flour was off by more than 1/4 cup in some cases, you were screwed. I hated that about baking.
Later, I came to appreciate it and followed the rules. But Katrina never forgot my once passionate disdain for baking. So, for the rest of our time together, she would tell everyone that I hated to bake. Even though I’d crank out cakes, cookies, and pies around the holidays.
Didn’t matter. “Phil hates to bake.”
Around 15 years ago, in a copy of Sunset Magazine, I found a recipe for Coconut Cranberry Chews. They looked delicious, and the recipe looked easy to follow. I made a batch and they were incredible. Took a plate to work and they were gone within half an hour. So it became my yearly tradition to bake this cookie at least once between October and December.
You can try to make this cookie healthy by switching up the butter with coconut oil, the flour with almond flour, or use an alternative sweetener. But I don’t recommend any of those things. The holidays were made to go off the reservation. Everything in moderation. And if you find yourself cramming more than what you should into your pie hole, there’s always the gym tomorrow.
Coconut Cranberry Chews
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
1 T orange zest
2 t vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
350 degrees for 12 minutes