If you ever shop at Trader Joe’s, you’ve probably seen their impressive Pound Plus chocolate bars. These bars are made of high quality Belgian chocolate specifically for Trader Joe’s – and they are a steal when you compare them to other premium bulk chocolate because the only brand that comes on them is TJ’s, so there is no inflation just for the name (it’s Callebaut chocolate, for chocolate fans). They come in a variety of flavors, from milk to dark, and I use them for a wide variety of purposes. For instance, I’ll cut off a few ounces to melt into a batch of brownies and chop some up to use as chocolate chunks in cookies.
They don’t change the bars up very often and when I saw a holiday version of the bar made with dark chocolate and packed with dried cranberries, candied ginger and toasted almonds, I knew that I had to pick one up. The bar is delicious on its own. Not only is the dark chocolate smooth and flavorful, but there are so many mix-ins that you will get some of everything in every single bite. At more than a pound in weight, the bar was far to big for me to want to eat in one sitting, so I decided to chop some up into chunks and incorporate it into a batch of oatmeal cookies.
These Cranberry, Ginger & Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies are loaded with flavor, just like the chocolate bar that inspired them. Dark chocolate, tart cranberries, spicy ginger and crunchy, nutty almonds all work together extremely well – and in a buttery, slightly chewy oatmeal cookie , the combination just about irresistible. It’s a nice change of pace from a plain (but still tasty) oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, too.
If you don’t have a seasonal Pound Plus chocolate bar at your disposal, don’t worry. You can get these same flavors very easily by adding dark chocolate chunks (or chocolate) chips, dried cranberries, candied ginger and toasted almonds in to your cookie dough separately. It’s a fantastic combination any time of year, and it really fits the holidays particularly well. They might not look as fancy as decorated gingerbread men, but these are cookies that you’ll come back to again and again.
Cranberry, Ginger & Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 1/4 cups chocolate chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1/4 cup candied ginger
or 2 cups coarsely chopped Pound Plus Extravaganza Bar
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Gradually blend in the flour mixture until it is completely incorporated. Stir in the oatmeal.
Stir in chocolate chunks, cranberries, almonds and ginger.
Shape cookies into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies are set just beginning to turn light brown around the edges. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies