These are dark, chewy brownie-like cookies with a bit of a twist. They have dried cranberries and some orange zest mixed into the dough, along with dark chocolate chips. The nice thing about the two fruity additions is that they break up some of the intensity of the chocolate and make the cookies a little bit more interesting. It’s not that the cookies are too chocolatey on their own, but it is nice to get something different from chocolate with chocolate from time to time.
The dried cranberries add some extra chewiness, and both they and the orange really brighten up the flavor of the cookie. You can see bits of dried cranberries poking out of the baked cookies, but because the orange flavoring comes from orange zest, it’s fairly subtle and not that noticeable until you bite into the cookie – making it a pleasant surprise when you take a bite. Fresh orange zest is really the key to getting a good flavor from these cookies. Orange oil or orange extract will be too dominant and may cover up the rich chocolate flavor of the cookie base.
If you’re not a big orange-chocolate fan, feel free to leave out the orange zest entirely. If you are a fan, on the other hand, try to find orange-flavored cranberries and substitute those for the regular dried cranberries. Trader Joe’s carries them, and OceanSpray sells orange crasins, as well. They’ll add an extra boost of oranginess to the cookies and really give them a nice flavor profile.
Orange Cranberry Brownie Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange zest
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chocolate chips (pref. dark chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together melted butter and sugars. Mix in the eggs, stirring them in one at a time, then add the vanilla and orange zest.
With the mixer on low or working by hand, stir in the flour mixture, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in dried cranberries.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet (dough balls were a bit larger than 1 inch in diameter). Leave about 2 to 3-inches between cookies to allow for spread.
Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set at the edges and tops are slightly cracked looking. Cool on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes about 3 1/2 – 4 dozen.