Last year, I patiently waited for the holiday season to whip up these cookies, which I discovered in the summer of 2012 during our vacation. We took a road trip up to northern California, traveling the stunning and stark coastline along the famed Pacific Coast Highway (a must-do at some point in your life!). We’ve traveled this road several times but had never stopped in Santa Cruz, so our trip was centered around that laid-back college coastal town. I booked our stay at a lovely Bed and Breakfast, the Babbling Brook Inn.
Every evening, they served these fresh-from-the-oven cookies. I would sometimes make hubby drive back to the inn between our sightseeing and our dinner stop just so I could load up on these cookies because we often arrived back to our room after the lounge area had closed, and I just had to have my sugar fix, especially with a treat as loaded and scrumptious as these were.
As always, if I taste something I like, I ask for the recipe. Usually, the person asked grants my request. Tickled pink that this particular request was graciously granted, I safely stored the recipe and patiently awaited the festive holiday season to bake them.
Holiday 2012 season arrived.
I was bummed.
Problem? Too flat. That means my butter was probably too soft. Darn shame since these goodies get pricey due to all the ingredients. So I shelved the recipe for another time.
Now it is time with Holiday 2013. And this time they worked!!!
They are LOADED with goodies: hints of orange, buttery yum, two kinds of chocolate chips, chewy dried fruit, earthy nuts, hearty oats, and crunchy granola. How’s that for a cookie?!
It offers a myriad of flavors that create a punch of WOW when you take a bite. I’d say these are not your ordinary-every-day-kind-of-cookie but definitely a special-celebration-kind-of-cookie, like staying-at-a-lovely-B&B-on-vacation-kind-of-cookie or a Happy-Holiday-gift-cookie or an impressive-party-gift-contribution-cookie… You get the idea.
Babbling Brook Cookies (a.k.a. Loaded Cookies)
Yield: about 5 dozen cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest (I put in a full tsp.)
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened (not too soft, though)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups raisins (or dried cherries or dried cranberries)
- 1 1/2 cups orange almond granola (or any good granola)
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (I buy the thicker oats from the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Take two refrigerated sticks of butter and cut into 8 slices each, arranging them on a plate to soften while you gather the remaining ingredients.
- Roast nuts in a pan over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. When cooled, coarsely chop the nuts.
- If desired, roast oats in pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, blend butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Turn mixer to low and add eggs, orange juice, and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until well mixed, 1-2 minutes.
- Turn mixer to low speed and add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix until just blended.
- In a large bowl, combine chocolate chips, raisins, chopped nuts, oats, and granola. Stir into dough mixture until just blended.
- Using spoon or small cookie scoop, place 1 1/2-inch mounds on prepared cookie sheet, spaced 2 inches apart, and bake at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or just until turning brown around the edges.
Note: Dough keeps well refrigerated or frozen. Bake them fresh as needed.
SOURCE: Babbling Brook Inn Signature Cookies developed by Mrs. King and once featured in the 1990 issue of Family Circle Magazine, graciously shared by the current owners of the B&B during our summer 2012 trip to Santa Cruz, California