Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cranberry white chocolate chip cookies are perfect for the entire holiday season.  I made them for Thanksgiving dessert this year, but they can also be a very festive Christmas cookie as well.  These cookies are soft and chewy and just perfection.

Adapted from the Domestic Rebel

Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar & white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg to combine. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and pinch of salt and beat until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the cranberries and white chips by hand.

Refrigerate the cookie dough for AT LEAST 1 HOUR. You can refrigerate longer if needed. This helps to create that light, soft and chewy texture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Place tablespoon-sized balls of the dough onto the cookie sheets.

Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes. Cookies may appear slightly undone. They will continue to set up more as they cool. Allow cookies to set on the baking sheets before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Non-traditional Thanksgiving Dessert

Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did not host Thanksgiving.  But, I was commissioned to help with dessert.  There were going to be a few guests at Thanksgiving (I won’t name any names here and no it was not the children 🙂 ) that would not eat the delicious pear and cranberry tart that my mother-in-law was making or any other traditional Thanksgiving dessert.  So, I decided to take on a chocolate layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.  Yes, non-traditional but soooo good!

I’ve made a layer cake before, but this time I attempted to do four layers and I went all out with decorating it.  This chocolate cake recipe is super moist and the brewed coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor.  I used the chocolate buttercream recipe from the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC.  It is my go to chocolate frosting.

For the Chocolate Cake:

Adapted from Ina Garten, via foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch x 2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix to combine.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the hot coffee and stir just to combine. Don’t be alarmed, the batter will be very liquidy.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty

For Magnolia’s Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

The below recipe would probably be enough for a two layer cake, but since I was making four layers, I made 1.5x the recipe below.  No one wants a cake with too little frosting 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions

To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-10 minutes. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low until a desired consistency is reached.  If you refrigerate overnight, make sure it is at room temperature before frosting the cake to avoid creating crumbs.

Now for the fun part!…The Assembly:

I baked the cake the night before, covered with plastic wrap and stored it at room temperature overnight.  Then, I made the frosting, assembled and frosted the cake the following evening.

I went to work the day after baking the cake and started to get stressed out about how to cut the cake layers in half without completely destroying them.  In order to make a two layer cake into a four layer cake I cut each layer in half using Wilton’s Small Cake Leveler.  It is a great baking tool that I did not know existed until now.  It made it so easy to get a straight cut and no cake was wasted in the process!

Once the layers were cut, I placed a small dab of frosting on a 12 inch cake cardboard round and placed the first layer on top.  This helps the cake from moving while you are assembling and decorating.  I also placed some parchment paper around the edges of the cake to keep the cardboard round clean while frosting.  Then I began frosting the top of the layer, moving from the middle of the cake to the edges.  Repeat these steps for each of the layers.  Once the cake is topped off with the final layer of cake, I added the top layer of frosting and then moved on to frosting the sides of the cake.

Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty

For the decorations, I added some mini chocolate chips to the sides of the cake.  Once I was done frosting the cake and adding the chocolate chips, I removed the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and magically the mess I made disappeared!  I finished the cake off with some decorative edges using a star frosting tip along the bottom and top edges of the cake.  Hint:  This hides some of the mistakes you made frosting the edges.  And, to make my non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert somewhat festive, I topped it with a hand-turkey decoration!

Chocolate Layer Cake - LiveDineParty

Happy Thanksgiving…

This year I have so much to be thankful for and I’m looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I love the old traditions that my family has had for as long as I can remember and I look forward to the new traditions that my husband and I will start together.

I won’t be hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Actually, I have never hosted Thanksgiving dinner and, to be honest, I prefer it that way.  Thanksgiving is the one holiday/dinner that completely scares me.  It is a holiday that is based almost completely on the food, so I’m terrified of messing up the meal.  For all of you brave people out there that are cooking your first or 20th Thanksgiving dinner this year, I applaud you!

One of these year’s I will take on Thanksgiving, but for now I’m just going to share some of my favorite table decor ideas.

Place cards

Sticking with traditional Thanksgiving decor, these mini pumpkin place cards are super cute and a nice favor for all of your guests.

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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These simple pine cone place card holders would be perfect for Thanksgiving, and they look so easy to make.

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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Or you can glam up the pine cones a bit with glitter…a little sparkle never hurts.

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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Sprigs of wheat would be perfect for a more rustic themed table scape.

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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I love these artichoke place card holders because they are a little unexpected.

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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Centerpieces

For a glamorous, yet traditional Thanksgiving table scape, go gold!

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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Place a few of these simple bunches of wheat with varying colors of ribbon on a long table and get that dramatic effect you are looking for with a low price tag.

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

Via Pinterest

For something a little different, I’m loving this purple and white kale centerpiece.  Even though there is no orange, it is still very Fall.  And, it would go perfect with the artichoke place cards above.  

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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Now, if I did have a table to decorate this year, this would be it.  I would probably pair it with the simple pine cone place cards from above.  Using the mini pumpkins might be too matchy for me.  

Thanksgiving - LiveDineParty

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Enjoy your Thanksgiving, eat excessive amounts of food, watch some football and, if you are brave enough, prepare for Black Friday!