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These cookies were not in my original holiday baking plan, but Little Bayley gave me a hard time about it because she liked them so much last year and I capitulated. You can use just about any kind of brandy for the cranberries – I use a Vanilla Cognac that I’ve had for ages, but you could really use anything you have on hand. They are a really fun twist on a basic white chocolate chip cookie, and don’t worry – there’s nearly no alcohol flavor left by the time you bake these delicious treats.

Brandied Cranberry White Chocolate Orange Cookies
(Adapted from

Cooking Time: 10-12 Minutes
Servings: About 2 1/2 Dozen Cookies

  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Grated peel of 1 large orange
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Soak the cranberries in the brandy in a wide, shallow bowl/dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Strain the cranberries, reserving 1 1/4 teaspoons of the brandy.

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Cream together the butter and sugars.

Add the eggs, vanilla, 1 1/4 teaspoons of the brandy, and grated orange peel. Mix well, scraping down sides of bowl to ensure even mixing.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Fold in brandied cranberries and white chocolate chips.

If you want thicker, softer cookies, chill dough in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. If you want thinner, crispier cookies you can skip this step like I did this time.

Place by rounded tablespoons on to your lined baking sheets. Bake cookies at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes on baking sheet and then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy, preferably with a glass of brandy!


Little Bayley called me up this week and asked if I would make cupcakes for her boyfriend’s birthday… silly question of course.  I thought about their relationship for a bit and one thing stuck out: their mutual love of whiskey. As a fan of alcoholic baked goods in general, I figured this could be a very fun adventure.

A few searches led me to this recipe, which sounded absolutely amazing – I mean, coffee AND whiskey? Yum! Clearly I had to modify it to make it my own though, so as I was whisking the chocolate mixture I was inspired to add a bit of cinnamon and cayenne pepper (similar to Mexican Hot Chocolate). Now that’s a wicked cupcake.

Wicked Whiskey Cupcakes Final

These turned out heavenly – just a hint of the spices in the moist cake, plus a nice Jack Daniel’s flavor in both the frosting and the cupcake to bring the whole thing together. They aren’t too spicy nor are they overwhelmingly chocolatey, but you could adjust amounts based on your preferences.

Chocolate Wicked Whiskey Cupcakes
(Adapted from Piratecupcake on

Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: About 32 Regular Cupcakes

The most important ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (get the good stuff, it’s worth it)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 cup of American whiskey (I used Jack Daniel’s, but you can pick your own poison)
  • 2 Sticks of unsalted butter cut in to one inch pieces.
  • 2 Cups of sugar
  • 2 Cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (to taste)

Put oven rack(s) in middle position and preheat oven to 325F.

Melt the butter

Heat coffee, whiskey, butter, and cup of cocoa powder in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, whisking until butter is melted. Remove from heat, then add sugar and whisk until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool 5 minutes.

All 3 components ready to be whiskedy

While chocolate mixture cools, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into cooled chocolate mixture until combined well. Add cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Add flour mixture in thirds, whisking after each addition, and whisk until just combined (the batter will be a bit thin and bubbly).

Thin and bubbly batter

Scoop cupcakes into lined cupcake pans, filling from 1/2 to 2/3 full. I like to use my ice cream scoop for this, just be careful of drips with this batter.

Two pans and an ice cream scoop

Side Note: As you can see, I have two cupcake pans, but one is darker than the other. I know that this darker one tends to cook faster, so I filled the light one first, put it in the oven with a 30 minute timer, then filled the dark one and put it on the rack above. That way both batches were ready at the same time!

Bake Cupcakes for 30 to 40 minutes. They are ready to go when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place them on a rack to cool and then ice with my JD Fudge Frosting or just dust with powdered sugar.

JD Fudge Frosting

I’ll be honest, this frosting stemmed from a pure desire to use up my leftovers. I had extra fudge leftover from making Peanut Butter and Fudge Oatmeal Cookies, and I was certain I could make it into a great frosting. This recipe will act like you are starting from scratch in case you’re not a hoarder like me.

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 14oz can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Jack Daniel’s (or any other whiskey)
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chocolate chips and the condensed milk. Stir regularly until you have a creamy, homogeneous fudge mixture. Remove from heat and transfer the fudge to a medium bowl.

Jack Daniel's Fudge Frosting

Add the half of the Jack Daniel’s and half of the powdered sugar and mix with an electric mixer. Add more whiskey to taste and more powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. I found that this frosting did not pipe well, but did smooth out into a beautiful frosting shell.

Finished, decorated cupcakes!

Decorate the cupcakes as desired – I used red sugar to keep the wicked, spicy theme going. Enjoy!

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