Hiddles Darling holiday cookies

December 11, 2014

Hiddles darling holiday cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

I inherited my mother's delicate hummingbird bones and gregarious knees {as a teenager, my knees were more talkative than I was in the early mornings}. Even though I prefer the calm serenity of yoga,  every other year or so I take up running for a handful of months.

When the mercury plummets, I resort to using as archaic treadmill that dwells in my damp, stone-walled basement/dungeon. For some idiosyncratic reason I don't like the jarring feel of running shoes on vinyl, instead I wear yoga socks with sticky, grippy dots (aka, Spiderman socks!). The socks, apparently, are not as Spidey as I had hopped...at least not when they're up against rogue cats. Last week, Niles, in the midst of a phantom mouse chase, decided to take a short cut across a moving treadmill. In an effort to avoid a collision, I performed an inventive, square dance-esqe sidestep; my loquacious left knee was not amused. What began as a tickle, has morphed into a throbbing pain that radiates down my entire outer leg. I *loathe* being inactive. If I'm careful, I can eke out an errant yoga or pilates session, but even gentle movements sometimes ignite my knee's understandable ire.

What does this have to do with cookies (or Tom)? Not much, really. As I was soothing my knee in a hot bubble bath, I focused on a bottle of St. Ives oatmeal shower gel that was sitting on the ledge. The word 'Ives' is comforting; almost like ivy, which, for someone who loves all things verdant & green, is delectable. Ivy eventually led to eyes and eyes led, naturally, to Tom Hiddleston. Kind eyes and chewy cookies are capable of alleviating woes, ouches and fluttering knees.

Hiddles darling holiday cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

These cookies are kissed with almost every flavour of the holiday season. The bones of this recipe belong to Cook's Illustrated infamous chocolate chip cookie. I used their whisking & resting technique + sensuous brown butter. Everything else was inspired by whimsical cupboard items - a noshed-upon bag of dried cranberries, a half-empty can of pistachios and a block of white chocolate (an ingredient I should really work with more often). If you squint, you can see a tiny fistful of chocolate chips. I rubbed orange zest into the sugar because citrus infused sugar is beautiful and necessary.

Hiddles darling holiday cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

After one straight-from-the-oven bite, I was immediately smitten. The cookies are achingly tender and riddled with blissful hints of orange, tart chewy cranberries, earthy pistachios and sultry brown butter - there's just enough white chocolate chunks to keep things sweet, but not cloyingly so.

Aptly named, the cookies are sweetly unique, deliciously versatile and destined for silver-starred greatness.

Hiddles darling holiday cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine

Hiddles darling holiday cookies
makes about two dozen darling cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar
grated zest from one orange (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed (light or dark)
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla, if you prefer)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup pistachios, shelled + coarsely chopped
6 oz good white chocolate, chopped (I used Lindt's white classic recipe bars)
1/4 cup chocolate chips (feel free to add more) 

In a stand mixer bowl, combine granulated sugar & orange zest. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into sugar until moist and aromatic. Whisk in brown sugar till combined; set aside.

Brown the butter:
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium and, stirring occasionally, cook the butter until it turns golden brown and develops a nutty aroma. Depending on the stove's heat, it can take 5-8 minutes for the butter to brown properly. During this process the butter will first become foamy before changing color, making it difficult to see what's going on. Be sure to give it a good stir now and then so that the butter doesn't burn. Once it's gorgeous and fragrant, remove the pan from the heat and stir in almond extract; set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl. whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt & cinnamon; set aside.

Add brown butter to sugar + orange zest bowl. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. After both eggs have been incorporated, give the dough a good 30 second stir. Let mixture rest for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of whisking + resting two more times until dough is thick, smooth and shiny. {Note; whisking and resting, repeatedly, gives the cookies a sexy texture.}

Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment and, with the machine on low speed, slowly add flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Remove paddle attachment and use a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir in the cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate.

Line a medium-size baking sheet with parchment paper. For each cookie, measure out a heaping Tablespoon of dough (mine weighed in at 2oz). Gently roll each cookie into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. {Note: don't worry about spacing them apart, the cookies need to spend a night in the fridge.} Cover cookies + sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line another baking sheet with parchment.

Place refrigerated cookies onto baking sheet, allowing for about 1-inch of spreading room. For rustic-looking cookies, gently press each mound of dough down to a 1/2" thickness. If you want a smoother, thicker appearance, leave the mounds happy & high. Sprinkle each cookie with a small amount of sea salt.

Bake 10-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden but still tender on the inside. {Note; don't overbake; the cookies will firm up as they cool off.}

Remove sheet from oven and allow cookies to rest for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. If they're too fragile to transfer after 5 minutes, wait a bit longer.

Hiddles darling holiday cookies | une gamine dans la cuisine


  1. OH my gosh - how I want one of these RIGHT now. They look absolutely divine!

  2. Oh, Valerie, your poor knee! Sending lots of TLC your way.
    In the meantime, your cookies look gorgeous. You so rarely bake with white chocolate that I sit up and pay attention when you do.

  3. Beautiful cookies. Perfect for the holidays. xo Catherine

  4. Ow!!! Poor you and your poor knee, Valerie!! Hope it's all better soon -- but looooove the sound and look of these luscious cookies. And this writing! Your way with words is so downright inspiring. I love reading your tales, whether it's just about the treadmill or about the loveliness of citrus-infused sugar. Thanks for sharing your gift :)

  5. These cookies look simply scrumptious, I'll take a dozen! :) Hope your knee heals quickly, do you have an Ace bandage? Compression also seems to help me when mine starts acting up…. xo

  6. So flavorful and addictive! Great Xmas cookies and lovely moody shots..



  7. Oh dear, I feel for you. My knees (or whole legs) have the same sort of tendency to derail whenever most needed, but cookies do help, as does chocolate. These looks so so good. Take care :)

  8. Oh my gosh these look amazing! Definitely need to make some!

  9. I may have missed it, but does one add the chocolate chips in with the rest of the inclusions?

    1. Hi, Jennifer.
      Just toss the chocolate chips in with the white chocolate. I did not include the chips in my instructions because I used such a tiny amount (about a handful). They were more of an afterthought. :D

  10. Oh my those cookies are looking so sinful and so well baked!..can't wait to try it myself...

  11. They look so delicious, these cookies, and the photography is stunning. I want to eat them now!!

  12. Oh dear, these cookies look so soft and sweet, I would die for grabbing one of them through the screen right now! Stunning pictures as well, as always! :)

  13. oh dear, i love these cookies!

    PS. I'm organizing a chocolate contest on my bilingual blog. Maybe you'd like to join us? :)

  14. Why am I still obsessed with Christmas food in February? Well these do look worthy of a late fixation--lovely and tasty!

    1. I still have pine branches & cones scattered around the house...maybe an errant wreath, too. I think we're okay until April. ;-)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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