These cranberry almond chocolate chip cookies are infused with orange zest. Dip them in chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt for a gluten-free holiday treat!
I’ve got very specific standards when it comes to anything remotely resembling a chocolate chip cookie.
1 – They can’t be small. Go big or go home. Bakery size style is where it’s at.
2 – They can’t be thin and crispy. I prefer my chocolate chip cookies plump and thick. Crispy edges are ok but if there’s no soft middle that’s a big fat NOPE for me.
3 – I don’t want them “healthified”. Buttery and sugar filled are what a chocolate chip cookie is all about.
There was definitely a time where I would’ve tried to make a cookie like this healthier by using different sweeteners and different fats (not to mention a lot less of it).
You know what I’ve come to realize at the ripe old age of 35 though? Sometimes, it’s just better to eat the real deal. Chocolate chip cookies are one of those time.
I made these 2 days before Thanksgiving knowing they were going to be decadently delicious calorie-bombs.
2 days is strategic in that it’s enough time to enjoy and indulge in what you want to eat and then right when you’re at that point of “omg, get these out of my sight so I don’t eat any more” you have a place to bring them and people to pawn them off on (aka: my family).
When I think of this time of year the ingredients that speak to me are citrus and cranberries.
Of course, there’s gingerbread too and I highly recommend these healthy chocolate chunk molasses gingerbread cookies if that’s your thing (still a holiday favorite even 5 years later) but I get like 1 very specific craving for gingerbread a year, it’s gone after basically a cookie or two and then I’m back to the citrus and cranberries.
These orange infused cranberry almond chocolate chip cookies are basically everything I love about the season jammed into a chocolate chip cookie and made gluten-free (because it’s actually really easy to do so with the awesome gluten-free flour blends these days so everyone in the family can enjoy them). ps- I like to use this gluten-free flour for baking.
Dip them in chocolate or don’t, totally up to you and your preference (clearly I like to based on these chocolate dipped cashew almond butter cookies & these spicy rosemary chocolate chip cookies from years past) but make sure and promise me you do this — sprinkle them with sea salt (like in this salted chocolate chip skillet cookie)! That part is not up for negotiation. Do it when they’re fresh out of the oven so it sorta seeps into the warm dough.
That hint of salt with the tang of the orange zest, sweetness of the cranberries and of course, chocolaty goodness is just the perfect finishing touch.
There’s so much going on in these cranberry almond chocolate chip cookies they’re almost like a compost cookie but a bit more refined and intentional.
My mom actually made the suggestion that they’d be great with hazelnuts too instead of chopped almonds, a substitution I’d fully support. In fact, I could see pecans working too (maybe toasted first?) and other dried fruits like tart cherries or even goji berries just please don’t bother trying to make these healthier.
Instead, embrace those 2 sticks of butter and all that (gasp!) refined sugar and just go with it. It’s the holidays, have a real damn cookie and move on with your life.
If these cranberry almond chocolate chip cookies aren’t your style (not sure I can understand that but, ok? I guess…) you check out these other awesome (gluten-free) holiday treat creations from some of my favorite bloggers today – they all went the healthy route…looks like I’m the fatty this year.
Taylor’s gluten/sugar free cranberry pistachio sugar cookies – This quick and easy, gluten free Sugar Free Chewy Sugar Cookies Recipe has cranberries and pistachios! They’re a healthier Christmas treat for only 95 calories!
Brittany’s gluten/grain-free almond flour crescent cookies – These simple almond flour crescent cookies are a healthy take on my Nanny’s signature crescent cookie recipe. They’re vegan + gluten-free and you only need six ingredients!
Lee’s healthy soft raspberry thumbprint cookies – Lighten up your holiday season with these spectacular Healthy Soft Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies. They’re grain-free and made with a delicious home raspberry filling.
Lindsay’s no cook toasted almond mocha fudge slice – This easy no cook toasted almond fudge recipe is a must make holiday treat. Made with unrefined sugar, this almond mocha fudge is rich yet naturally vegan and paleo friendly.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (use your favorite baking blend, I use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- sea salt for garnish
Optional Chocolate Dip
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place softened butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on a medium speed until light and fluffy (alternatively, beat with a hand mixer).
- Add the egg, orange zest and extracts to the bowl and beat again until fully incorporated.
- Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. With the mixer running on a slow speed, add the flour mixture a little at a time.
- Add the cranberries, almonds and chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
- Scoop dough onto the baking sheet (about 2 heaping tablespoons worth of dough per cookie) in a high mound making sure to leave enough space between the cookies to account for spreading while they bake.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes until edges just start to turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven, the cookies will still be pretty puffy in the center, press down gently with the back of a spoon to get that flatter/cracked look and sprinkle with coarse sea salt to taste immediately after removing them. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- If dipping in chocolate:
- Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir until smooth.
- Once cookies have cooled completely, dip half into the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.