The cookie of the century? Really? That's quite a label to live up to. Sometimes I wonder how I miss popular recipes like this one. It seems it was the grand prize winner in Sunset magazine's cookie contest of 2001 and entered by Nancy Jamison. I did a little research and found out that:
"Nancy created this recipe over about a month's time, continually refining and testing before submitting it to Sunset's contest. Sunset awarded Nancy the grand prize winner, but she was surprised that Sunset adjusted the original recipe when they printed it in their December 2001 issue."
The differences? She originally included twice as much salt (1/2 t), the additions of baking soda (1 t) and orange oil (3/4 t), less orange zest (2 t), and additional fat in the form of Crisco shortening (1/2 cup). I can't imagine more fat, but the cookie is dry when you mix it and perhaps her addition alters that. Next time I make these, I might try Nancy's original recipe and see what happens.
While these turned out beautifully (yes, they are very addictive) and I don't mean to discourage you from making them, but "cookie of the century" is a bit of a stretch.
Have you made them? Let me know what you thought.
Coconut Cranberry Chews
From Sunset Magazine, December 2001
1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter or margarine, at room temperature (butter needs to be really soft)
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut
In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes. Mix in cranberries and coconut.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets. Note: I flattened the dough a little bit...they turned out better-shaped.
Bake in a 350° oven until cookie edges just begin to brown, 8 to 11 minutes (shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). Note: they took almost 15 minutes in my oven. If baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets. They are delicate at first and when I transferred them to a rack, a couple fell apart. I left the rest to cool on the baking sheet and all was well.