Cranberry, pistachio & choc chip cookies


You know how sometimes you just click with a person? 

Sometimes this takes the form of instantly identifying a kindred spirit. Back in November 1990 I went on an end-of-university-exams holiday to Plettenberg Bay over New Year with my brother and some friends.  This is the equivalent of the US institution of Spring Break – hundreds of students descended (as a friend puts it "like horny locusts"!) on this beautiful seaside resort and proceeded to drink double their own body weight in alcohol, dance all night in the only 2 nightclubs in town, lounge on the beach, play drinking games and generally behave as students do when they have no parental supervision and no exams to think about.  I was a little older than my brother and his friends, being a bit of a latecomer to the idea of drunken debauchery, but I knew them all so it didn't bother me that I was partnerless.  Well, I say partnerless…  but the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is a little more complicated. 

Earlier that year I had been spectacularly dumped by my boyfriend (we'll call him Laurel) and had gone to visit friends in Johannesburg to seek solace in the messy aftermath.  There, as luck would have it, I met somebody (we'll call him Hardy).  We'll gloss over the fact that I met Hardy over a quarters game and that my judgement was probably slightly less than accurate.  And the fact that he was a pathological liar.  Either way, I was smitten.  Things progressed, Hardy came to visit me in my hometown, and he was hardly there a day when we went out and bumped slap bang into Laurel.  I thought he'd be completely indifferent but nooooo.  This sighting prompted soul searching on his part, followed by an abject apology for the dumping and declarations of undying love. 

What to do, what to do?? 

Well, I did what any sensible girl would do:  I kept my options open.  So by the time November rolled round, I was seeing Laurel again, but still trading passionate letters and phonecalls with Hardy in Johannesburg.  Not knowing, of course, that Hardy was shacked up with his ex-girlfriend at the time.

Anyhoooo.  So there we were in Plettenberg Bay one afternoon in 1990, carrying on a huge game of quarters with all the 15 or so occupants of the 6-bed house (don't even ask – people were practically sleeping in the fridge), and people slowly began to drift away from the game.  During the game, I'd been trading quips with Bron, a friend of my brother's, and as people drifted off, we got chatting about relationships.  And the more we chatted, the more we realised we had in common:  a shared offbeat sense of humour, a love of Terry Pratchett, a love of poetry and, umm, the fact that we were both attempting to carry on relationships with 2 boys in different cities.

It's almost 20 years later, Laurel and Hardy are long gone, but Bron and I are still best of friends.  Sometimes, you just know right from trhe start when you've found a soulmate.

In the blogging world, things work in much the same way.  There will be some people whose writing you enjoy but whose recipes leave you cold.  Or people who post show-stoppingly elaborate dishes, presented like works of art, and you may stand in awe… but deep down you know that this is not your stlye of cooking and you will never make anything from their blog.  But once in a while you will come across somebody who cooks exactly the sort of food you like to cook, only with fresh inspirations.  How will you know when you've found such a blogger?  When you look at your Google bookmarks file and realise that a quarter of all your bookmarked recipes come from one site. And in my case, that would be… Closet Cooking!  Kevin's style of cooking and his recipes are inventive without being overly fussy – and if I wanted final proof that we are on the same culinary wavelength, he has bookmarked and made two of my recipes over the past month :)

So last weekend I thought it was high time that I returned the compliment and made one of Kevin's recipes.  As luck would have it, there was a bag of choc chips that I needed to use up, and some cranberries left over from the previous weekend's muffins, so the decision of what to make was made in about thirty seconds flat.  These cookies are not dainty or chi-chi:  they are big American-style cookies with a lovely chewy texture. The only change I made was substituting semi-sweet chocolate chips for Kevin's white chocolate chunks, but I'm sure either option would be delicious.  These are definitely entering the chez Cooksister repetoire – thanks Kevin :)




1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/8 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried pistachios
1/2 cup chocolate chipsPistachiosWeb


Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl; then mix the dry ingredients into the wet.

Mix in the rolled oats, cranberries, pistachios and chocolate chips.

Place the dough onto a cookie sheet one table spoon at a time.  Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

Don't forget to get your entries in for this month's Waiter, There's Something in My event – the theme is sweet/savoury swap, so think dessert soup, savoury bread & butter pudding… let your imagination run wild.  Details available here.

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  1. says

    I think many a romance was started an ended in Plett……..we are spending our holiday there again this year….
    I could not agree with you more about finding a kindred spirit……my friend and I have been friends now for over 20 years and we still contact each other daily and I make time to see her at least once a week.
    The cookies well…….they have everything I like in a cookie, nuts, fruit, crunch and a chewy texture…yum!

  2. says

    I enjot both your writing and cookinf style. the cmbo of pistachio, cranberry, and chcolate sounds so good.I need a cookie now with after dinner cup of tea.

  3. Kate Zeller says

    I loved the story (memories, different time and place, but memories)
    And I agree about Kevin’s food… But what really caught my eye is that you’re a Terry Pratchett fan!!!!
    My friend in Spain got me hooked a few years back… He is collecting, and I believe has, all first editions….
    Oh, yeah…Nice cookies!

  4. says

    where were these over christmas when i was looking for red and green goodies? too bad i’m not clever enough to pair cranberries and pistachios myself. :)

  5. says

    Lovely post, thanks, and the recipe is very similar but not identical to the cranberry white choc chip cookies in both Nigella Christmas and Bill Granger’s Holiday books, which I tried this past holiday (they use pecan nuts instead). Yes, they are divine and totally to be recommended. I made mine with choc chips, like you, and think they are better this way. White chocolate somehow is often just too sweet.

  6. says

    LOL Jeanne. Loved the passionate story with the not so passionate Laurel & Hardy. Thank heavens for Bron!! Saw your coffee gravy at Kevin’s. Aaw, you are so sweet to make these cookies. They look stellar & I feel like sneaking a couple off your plate. I love cranberry & pistachios in cookies. Made a bar cookie a while ago in the same combo, & they were yum! Have a great day you good lady!

  7. says

    You can’t do this to me, it’s day 4 of my diet and I’m hanging in by my finger-nails!!! Gawd those cookies look divine!
    Loved the peek into your student love-life – LOL.

  8. says

    Thanks for the kind words! I feel the same. I have a lot of your recipes bookmarked and on my to try list as well! :) I bet the chocolate chips were just as good as the white. Great photos!

  9. says

    Aww, what a cute story (kinda wanna hear more about your escapades with the two guys…. oopsie)! I thought it would end with you meeting your husband, heh heh :) I do feel that there are some people you just hit it off and you laugh at the same things and think the same things but I shy away from the soul-mates label because that’s just too much pressure! Plus it hurts when they don’t feel the same way :(

  10. Caril Studnicka says

    how do you make choc. chip cookies in GA, because i have tried several times and the batter is really watery and when i add more flour, they seem ok, until they come out of the oven…they are very pale and rock hard…i used to live in chicago and everyone always said how i made the best choc. chip cookies, but they don’t seem to be cooperating with me in Georgia…. what can i do?