Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Forward With Berry Good Chocolate Cookies

By Cal Orey,

The Writing Gourmet

Spring is in the air. The sierra nights are growing lighter and longer. The buds on the trees are showing their true colors. The snow is melting faster. I'm feeling the "hump month" is on its way to an end. This is a time that reminds me to eat healthier and get a move on--even more than usual--so when spring has sprung I can enjoy my burst of spring fever and do all I want to do...

But note, baking doesn't have to be just a winter thing. A recipe in my Healing Powers series (The Healing Powers of Chocolate) has a super chocolate chip cookie recipe that spells spring. I love all the healthful organic ingredients. However, when I whip up these chocolate chunk cookies with fruit I'll use some of Callie's fave organic staples: whole wheat flour, brown eggs, extra virgin olive oil, fresh cranberries, an earthy spice or two, 60%-70% cocoa content for chocolate, and parchment paper. Either way, I predict you'll be happy with both--and don't hesitate to put your own spin on this recipe created by Claire Criscuolo...

Cherry and Chunk Chocolate Cookies

* * *
4 cups organic unbleached flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup granulated organic cane sugar
2 organic eggs or equivalent substitute
1 cup organic soy milk or dairy milk
1/2 cup Spectrum Naturals Canola Oil
1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons pure organic vanilla extract
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
4 ounces organic semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into
bite-sized pieces, about 1 cup
1/2 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, finely chopped
Spectrum Naturals Canola Spray

Preheat the ovent to 375 degrees. Measure the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a bowl. Sift this into another bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, Spectrum Canola Oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Whisk to blend well. Pour over the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in the cherries, chocolate chunks, and walnuts, mixing to combine. The batter will be thick. Spray 2-3 cookie sheets with Spectrum Spray Oil. Drop heaping teaspoons of batter onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 1/2 inches between them. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until just golden brown. Transfer the cookies onto a platter. Cook before storing in a covered container for up to a week--if they last that long! Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

As spring--the season of new fruits and vegetables--moves on into Lake Tahoe and our Golden State, I vow not to stop baking. But I'll include plenty of fresh fruits, spices, herbs, and chocolates in my dishes--as I hope you'll do the same. Funny, spring isn't my fave season but I do love the late spring splash of bright, colorful flowers, warmer climate, off season (the resort pool has my name on it) and spring cleaning. It's a time of change. Sure, change is challenging but good things sprout from a different scenery.


  1. I am looking forward to trying the Cherry and Chunck Chocolate Cookie recipe. I do not have all organic ingredients, but as you say - - - they will be good! Yes, the seasons are changing but a little confusing where I am. Day before yesterday I was raking leaves in the sunshine and yesterday morning we had a dusting of snow.
    I continue to enjoy your blog. Take Care.

  2. Hi Mary,
    Yes, I can relate with "hump month" crazies. Try swimming at an indoor resort pool spa with a Mediterranean warm climate and then putting on winter attire to walk the pooches in slushy snow covered ground. I get what you're saying. I wish I could move somewhere where it's fall year round.

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