Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies – Wow!
Just the name, Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, sounds terrific. And when you learn the stuff they’re made of – hand-cut dark chocolate, dried, tart-sweet cranberries, almond flour, ground flaxseeds, pure maple syrup and natural almond butter – then you know they’ll be great. That these wonderfully crisp and chewy cookies also happen to be dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan makes them both delicious and healthy.
A bite of something sweet
After having to taste-test batch after batch of cookies during the recipe refining process these past couple of weeks, I’ve become quite the fan. And I now stand with the cookie monster in this great cartoon by Fernander.
Delete Cookies from our lives? No way. When you want a bite of something sweet, Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies are just right.
Chocolate chips or hand-cut chocolate chunks?
Guess I’ve been away from the world of baking and bakers too long to have noticed the strong feelings on this “issue.” Truly it’s your choice. Take a moment, though, to consider my short list of pros and cons before making such an important decision.
- For the most melted chocolate goodness, hand cut a bar of at least 60% chocolate.
- Use all the slivers, dust and chunks. They’ll provide chocolate goodness throughout each cookie.
- Find higher quality chocolate in bars.
- So rewarding to bite into a chunk of soft, melted chocolate.
- For distinct bites of chocolate, use at least 60% dark chocolate chips.
- Chocolate chips are super convenient.
- Designed not to melt, chips hold their shape, yet do soften at high temperatures.
- I understand it’s possible to find better tasting chips made from high quality chocolate these days. Though in Big Sky Country, not so much.
What does percentage mean?
For many years, chocolate was labeled as semi-sweet, bitter-sweet, unsweetened or baking chocolate. During the last 18 years or so, quality chocolate makers have replaced these names with percentages instead. The percentage tells how much chocolate by weight comes from pure cocoa beans.
The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is. The rest of the ingredients vary by manufacturer, and may include one or more of the following: sugar, cocoa butter, milk fat, an emulsifier, and/or vanilla. Knowing the chocolate percentage makes it easier to choose your favorite chocolate.
When is a cup not a cup?
For those of you (like me) who don’t do enough baking to keep almond flour or ground flaxseeds in the house, it makes sense to grind your own from whole almonds and flaxseeds. The confusion begins here. A cup of whole almonds when ground in a high-speed blender (or even a food processor) makes more than a cup of almond flour. And ditto for flaxseeds.
Once again, weights are the best way to accurately measure ingredients. To help us both out, I’ve included the weight (in both ounces and grams) for whole almonds and flaxseeds. Once you grind them you’ll have the required amount for this recipe. Easy.
Note: store your whole almonds and flaxseeds in the freezer to keep them fresh longer. Also, blend them while still frozen to keep them from much too quickly turning into almond or flax butter.
Double pans make for perfect cookies
For the most even top and bottom browning, bake your cookies on either an insulated baking sheet or on a double pan (two rimmed baking pans sitting on top of one another so there is a layer of air between them).
Cookies baked on a double pan take about a third longer in the oven. So worth it to avoid having overcooked bottoms before the tops are golden. Baked on a double pan your cookies will have perfectly golden tops and bottoms and virtually no chance of burning.
Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten-free and vegan when made with certified gluten-free oats.
The weights and the measurements for the almond flour and ground flaxseed are included below. Especially important if you will be grinding your own, i.e., in a high-powered blender. Measuring by weight makes for the most accurate measurements.
Makes 36-40 2 ½ -inch cookies Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
3.9 ounces (110 grams) whole almonds ground to equal 1 cup of almond flour
2.8 ounces (78 grams) whole flaxseeds ground to equal ¾ cup ground flaxseeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Rounded ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups (7.2 ounces) old-fashioned oats
2 ½ ounces dark chocolate (at least 60%), hand cut into chunks
½ cup dried cranberries (preferably fruit-sweetened)
¾ cup pure maple syrup or light local honey
½ cup natural almond butter
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, ground flaxseeds, sea salt, baking powder and cinnamon. When well mixed, use a rubber spatula to fold in the oats, dark chocolate (including all the shards and dust) and dried cranberries.
- Use an immersion or regular blender to combine the wet ingredients until smooth.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients in the well. Use a rubber spatula to combine. Set the batter aside for at least 5 minutes for the flaxseeds to absorb the liquid.
- While the batter sits, heat the oven to 350° F. Place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line either two insulated baking sheet or two “double pans” (two rimmed baking pans sitting on top of one another so there is a layer of air between them) with parchment paper or silicon liners.
- Use a #40 ice cream or cookie scoop (1 ¾ tablespoons) to form the cookies. Place them about 1 ½ inches apart. (I get 18-21 cookies per typical 18 x 13-inch half pan.)
- Bake one insulated or double pan of cookies at a time for 12 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees and bake another 6 minutes. The cookies will still be moist in the center.
- Remove the cookies from the oven and bake the other pan.
- Let the cookies cool about 10 minutes before using a thin-edged spatula to carefully transfer the baked Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies to a cooling rack.
- This recipe makes enough cookies to perhaps have some extras to store in the freezer . . . for those moments when you want a bite of something sweet.
- Inspired by and adapted from a recipe by Sonja Goedkoop,RD.