Despite the fact that I pretend to be a grown up and the fact that I’m pretty sure we’re actually only in October, every now and then I get overcome by a wave of excitement about Christmas.

The first thing I do when I get home from work in the evening – before I’ve even taken my coat off – is to turn on the lights on our tree. That moment when our flat is filled with their twinkling is my favourite moment of the day.

I’ve filled little bowls and plates with piles of gold chocolate coins and we eat entire meals composed of tiny quiches and things wrapped in bacon. Every morning, I gleefully declare how many days until Christmas and sing Christmas carols loudly and off-key as I get dressed.

In the office too, a sense of anticipation has started to build and, as a result, we are rather easily distracted from the business of the working day. Yesterday, a giant rubber duck was floated down the river outside our office. No work was done for a good hour. This was followed by a long discussion about what ‘King Kong’ would be called in Denmark (it’s ‘Kong King’ if you’re interested) and a fevered debate about what type of ties men should wear with checked shirts.

And by 7pm, the normally bustling office is quiet as people rush out to school nativity plays and late night shopping and impromptu evenings in the pub. At this time of year, people wear their hangovers like a badge of honour and compete to see who had the most eventful journey home from the office Christmas party.

In the last couple of weeks, the poor post room seems to spend most of its days sorting out parcels from Amazon and delivering people’s Christmas shopping to their desks. And, if you’re very lucky (and have signed up to the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap), they will also deliver you three delicious package filled with cookies from some of your very favourite bloggers.

Last year, I read with some envy of all the parcels of deliciousness that were flying around the world as part of a fantastically successful cookie swap organised by Lindsay and Julie. This year, the cookie swap is even bigger and better with nearly 600 bloggers around the world signed up to take part. This year everyone was asked to make a small donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer meaning not only we get to enjoy 36 of the finest cookies but we raised several thousand dollars for a very worth cause.

I received some wonderful cantucci from Giulia of mondomulia, some deliciously spiced chocolate orange, pecan and cranberry cookies Kate of The Little Loaf and some lovely buttery cookies studded with raisins from a mystery cookie-sender. The recipients of my almond butter, cranberry and dark chocolate cookies were Victoria of Victoria Sponge, Pease Pudding, Gill of Tales of Pigling Bland and Rebecca of 366 Recipe Challenge. On reflection, I’m not sure quite how well these cookies would have stood up to travelling the length and breadth of the country due to the high butter content but I do hope that my swapees enjoyed them!

Thank you so much to Lindsay and Julie for all their hard work in organising this cookie swap; it’s a massive undertaking but, personally, I can’t think of a more fitting way to start the festive season.


Almond butter, cranberry and dark chocolate cookies
Yield: Approx 40 cookies
  • 170g (3/4 cup) almond butter
  • 140g (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g (1/2 cup) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
  • 90g (1/2 cup) light brown soft sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 170g (1 1/2 cups) plain/all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100g (4 oz) dried cranberries
  • 100g (4 oz) chopped dark chocolate

Cooking Directions

  1. Beat together the almond butter, butter and both the sugars until soft and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and fold them into the dough. Fold through the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.
  2. Cover the dough and chill for at least two hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with non-stick paper.
  4. Shape a tablespoon’s worth of dough into a ball with your hands, place on the baking tray and squish down. If wanted, sprinkle with a touch of salt. This recipe makes quite a few cookies so, unless you have a giant oven, store the dough in the fridge in between rounds of cookies.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Leave the cookies to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
19 Responses to "almond, cranberry and dark chocolate cookies"
  1. the cookie swap sounds so amazing, i have to do it next year! your cookies are definitely going on my to-bake list, i love the idea of almond butter in the cookie! happy holidays!

  2. You had the same mysterious cookie sender as me! Wonder who it was…

    As for Christmas, I’m exactly the same with our tree. It’s so magical to sit in the front room and stare at the sparkly lights! Although am heading to Oxford St after work which may destroy all Christmas joy for a few hours … ;-)

  3. london bakes says:

    @Marissa – Happy holidays to you too!

    @thelittleloaf – I’m hoping the mystery cookie sender will reveal themselves but I haven’t been able to work out who it was yet! Good luck on Oxford Street…I’m heading there tomorrow after work and I expect to be in a similarly joy-less mood after an hour or two.

  4. These look incredible, and the packaging looks so cute. Maybe I should have put more thought into my packaging? Next year I’ll be participating as a UK member so chances are I’ll get to swap with you :) Although Erin’s cookie muffins look awesome too…I really can’t complain!!

  5. I am the same, when I come in from work the tree lights go on before I even take my coat off and I feel all warm and festive. I picked up some sachets of flavoured nut butters in America in the Summer and haven’t used them yet. One was maple almond butter so I might try it out in a cookie mix. I’ll definitely go in for the cookie swap next time it’s on.

  6. Ooh, your cookies sound amazing! How I wish you lived in the states, so I could’ve been a lucky recipient of those cookies. And unrelated: since i work from home, the first thing I do when i get up in the morning is turn on the christmas tree lights. totally makes my day, every day!

  7. Katie says:

    I love looking at everyone’s cookie recipes! Your cookies sound divine (and look it too)!

  8. Cranberries in cookies is one of my favorite festive ways to celebrate the season! The cookie swap sounds super fun!

  9. I love that you walk around the house caroling too! Kind of awkward because my roommate is Jewish…oops? :)

  10. Crikey, I’m definitely feeling left out now… I never knew anything about this cookie swap and my reader is chocka with it tonight!! I must take part next year :-D

  11. Laura says:

    I’m getting really excited for Christmas too. Your cookies look lovely and sound wonderful. I made some cookies with almond butter recently, even made the almond butter, but they needed refinement. I like the sound of yours better, I wish I’d been a recipient :)

  12. My husband got all fancy and put our Christmas tree lights on a timer. But certainly, walking out of my office and into the twinkling lights of the living room is my favorite time of day too.

    The cookie swap was definitely fun this year. I got *potato crisp* cookies! And they were phenomenal. But I sure would have liked some of these too.

    Speaking of things wrapped in bacon, M&S had this ready-made app that we always used to get, and now it’s driving me mad trying to think of it. It had cheddar, and bacon, and went into the oven, but I swear there was another component. It can’t possibly be just cheddar wrapped in bacon, can it?

  13. These are lovely, Kathryn! Just love the flavor combination! PS – I loved your feature in FoodieCrush today!

  14. I love that you were able to participate all the way from London and that you and some ladies were able to do this :) your cookies sound fantastic with all the flavors and ingredients! I love texture in my cookies so the combination of the cranberries and almond would satisfy me!

  15. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    what a beautiful idea! is there a better way to raise money than with cookies! I’m going to have to sign up for this next year!

  16. I love the idea of using almond butter in a cookie. I imagine that they would taste superb and I would have been over the moon the receive them had I have taken part in this cookie swap. I have loved all the entries I have seen so far!

  17. Kinda sounds amazing. I don’t like peanut butter cookies (I know, gasp). But almond butter sounds much better :).

  18. What a wonderful idea! I love the idea of exchanging baking with another blogger and getting to try some of their wonderful recipes. How wonderful that you got to try some of The Little Loaf cookies. I bet they were divine. As your cookies look delicious too!

  19. Erin D. says:

    Hey Antonia, I thought the same thing once I saw all the cookie posts! But you know what, our cookies arrived in one piece and that’s what important, right? :)

    And whoa… almond butter cookies! I can’t even remember the last time I made something like this. They look great!

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