One Last Cookie Before Christmas: Coconut Cranberry Chews

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.


  1. Very tempting! Great flavor combination.



  2. If they've got cranberries, count me in. Great idea of combining coconut with cranberries. I'm quite surprised the magazine adjusted her recipe if she was the winner. Hmmm, I've won a couple of contests and I've never heard of such a thing and certainly not sure I think that is right either.

  3. Barbara! I love all your cookies! Always look delicious!:)

  4. HI Barbara, these do look and sound good---although it is ironic that Sunset awarded her "cookie of the century" and then altered her recipe, significantly!

  5. Love cranberries..you made me smile with Cookie Of The Century..really?
    I find superlatives have been used so much I usually have the question mark in my head too!
    Thanks for all the cookies you have shared~

  6. My ex's mother used to get that magazine. I still have a folder of cuttings from it. They looked so old-fashioned even in the 90's. Have they updated now?
    Recipes were always great though... judging from this one, that hasn't changed.

    I need to look through all the cookies you've been making and drool a little... not making cookies this year save one for the blog next week.

    Have a great Christmas!

  7. The only cookie I would consider the "cookie of the century" would be the chocolate chip cookie, Barbara, but, that's just me, lol...These look and sound might tasty though. I too would be curious to taste Nancy's. I wonder why the change?

    Thanks for sharing, Barbara...

  8. Dear Barbara, These do sound good. I love coconut. xo Catherine

  9. I love the cranberry and coconut combination- I may have to try these just to see if they live up to their name! :)

  10. I too love the combination of flavours, Barbara. These cookies look very tempting!

  11. I am a coconut fan and I would love to try these.

  12. You had me at coconut. My kids don't like coconut and I think it's proof that they are aliens. Who doesn't like coconut?!

  13. Hi Barbara, just stopped by to let you know you've been featured today over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

  14. I've never made these but I'll bet the original recipe is so much better, judging from what was omitted by Sunset. Very festive with the cranberries, orange zest and coconut. Merry Christmas, Barbara!

  15. These cookies would be an awesome gift to give out during Christmas! Happy Holidays :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. Some of my favorite ingredients, but that's quite a title. I'm pretty sure these won't get made until 2015.

  17. i do prefer a chewy cookie! plus, i've nearly decided that coconut is my favorite food on this earth. :)

  18. They look very nice, but I think "cookie of the century" is pushing it a bit, too.
    And I can't imagine more fat either - that's some kind of decadent!

  19. So here is the real story. Sunset did alter my original recipe significantly and I called them on it. At the time they said that they reduced the fat by getting rid of the half cup of Crisco because they said there was too much. First, you don't make these on a diet. Second, taking it out caused them, and me to get a lot of calls asking if the recipe was missing an egg because it was dry. But Sunset said that people are notoriously bad at measuring flour, hence their comment in another magazine about it.

    They then told me that they substituted orange peel for the orange oil I had used saying it was difficult to find. Not true. They could have just noted that substitution in a comment. Then they reduced the salt by half, which was a mistake because its a big recipe and you need the salt to blend the flavors.

    In any case, when I saw the recipe in their magazine I pulled out the KitchenAid mixer I won for the contest, put it next to mine and made both versions. Then I took it next door to a party and had 11 people blind taste test it and all of them liked my version better.

    Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed them.

    Nancy Jamison



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