These perfectly festive and wintery white chocolate cranberry cookies are soft and chewy with slightly crispy edges. These cookies can be made in ONE bowl with one wooden spoon; no hand or stand mixer needed!
BUTTER: In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Once melted, stick it in the fridge for 5 minutes. It's important the butter isn't hot when you add in the sugars or it will melt the sugar and make the cookies greasy.
WET INGREDIENTS: Once butter is cooled to room temperature, stir in the light brown sugar and white sugar. Stir until smooth. Stir in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract (if desired; not necessary to the cookies, but adds a slight almond flavor; leave out if you don't want that!). Stir until smooth. Add in the agave nectar, stir until smooth.
DRY INGREDIENTS: Add in the cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Again, stir until smooth. Add in the correctly measured (Note 3) flour and mix until JUST combined. Don't over mix.
COOKIE ADDITIONS: Gently stir in 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips AND the chopped cranberries. Stir until combined.
CHILL: Cover the bowl tightly and chill for 1 hour.
BAKE: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick silpat liner. If you have a light colored sheet pan, use that over a dark one!
ROLL BALLS: Roll balls of dough into tall cylindrical balls (see picture above for shape and size). Place 6-8 cookie balls on a sheet to give the cookies plenty of room to spread. (Dough balls should be about 1.7 ounces if you have a food scale; this dough should make 15-17 cookies.) If the dough gets warm by being at room temperature or through the rolling process, pop the balls into the fridge again for 10-20 minutes or until firm.
BAKE: Bake for 8-12 minutes erring on the side of under-baking which keeps them soft and chewy (We like ours right at 9-10 minutes)! Remember the cookies will bake a little more out of the oven, so take them out as soon as the edges start to lightly brown.
FINISHING: Remove from the oven and press the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies (ensures even placement of chocolate AND makes them look pretty!). Allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to let them finish cooling.
STORAGE: We like these cookies best on day 1 and 2 of being made. They do last up to 1 week, but they do begin to lose texture and flavor. To store: place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature. Wait until cookies are completely cooled before adding to the container.
Note 1: if using dark brown sugar, these cookies do spread a bit more, become flatter, and are a little less "pretty"
Note 2: agave nectar is the "secret" ingredient that makes these cookies AMAZING. You can use pure maple syrup in its place. Agave nectar has become a widely popular ingredient and can be found in most grocery stores. You can generally find it with other sweeteners (like brown and white sugar) or in the natural foods section.
Note 3: spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with the back of a butter knife OR weigh the flour on a food scale for an accurate measurement.