These Vegan Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies are perfect for sharing with loved ones over the Thanksgiving, Festive and Holiday seasons. These chunky old-fashioned cookies are dairy and egg-free, and are packed with sweet fruity dried cranberries and filled with creamy white chocolate drops. Although you can use dairy-free dark [semi-sweet] or dairy-free milk chocolate instead. Our home-baked cookies are easy to prepare in one bowl, don't need to be refrigerated before baking, and are quick to bake in just 14 minutes.
Quickly whip up a tasty batch of old-fashioned white chocolate and cranberry cookies to share with loved ones and bring some holiday cheer to friends and work colleagues. The chunky cookies are also perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas cookie platters, bake sales, North Pole breakfasts, Christmas Eve hot cocoas, and we are pretty sure Santa will love one or two with their plant-based milk!
White chocolate and cranberries are a classic combination and work beautifully for delicious home-baked cookies. Adding dried cranberries to chocolate cookies provide the cookies with a refreshing tart, sweet, and fruity flavour as well as a chewy texture which compliments the sweet and creamy chocolate.
🍒 Origin of cranberries
Cranberries are native to North America and were an important part of the diet of indigenous American peoples long before European settlers arrived. Indigenous peoples of North America, including the tribes - Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pequot, were the first to use cranberries in many different ways - such as cooking, medicine [eg as poultices], and fabric dyes.
One traditional use was in the preparing of pemmican which is a high-energy food made of dried meat which was often powdered, animal fat, and berries such as cranberries. Pemmican was somewhat similar to a very dense cereal bar crossed with a fruit cake and jerky, and it was a staple food, especially for travel as it kept well and it came in useful for trading.
Image: ''Pemmican'' sourced from Canva Premium.
When European settlers arrived in North America, they learned from the Native Americans about the usefulness of cranberries and so the settlers began to include cranberries into their diet. The name "cranberry" is believed to have been evolved from the term ''crane berry'' which was the name given by the Dutch settlers who thought that the plant’s flower resembled the head and neck of a crane.
The commercial cultivation of cranberries began in the early 19th century in the United States when cranberry bogs [wetlands created to farm cranberries] became a common sight, particularly in the northeastern United States but over time the cranberry bogs spread to states like Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Oregon.
Today, cranberries are a staple in North American cuisine, particularly in holiday and festive dishes such as cranberry sauce, cookies, and cakes. They are also popular worldwide especially enjoyed as cranberry juice, dried cranberries, and used as an ingredient for baking, granola, muesli, trail mix, cereal bars, flap jack bars, or energy bars.
Image: ''Cranberry bog'' sourced from Canva Premium.
🥣 How to prepare
These delicious chunky cookies are easy to prepare and quick to bake with everyday vegan-friendly ingredients - dried cranberries, vegan white chocolate, plant-based milk such as soya, oat or almond milk, vegan-friendly margarine, vegan butter, or baking block such as Stork baking spread, apple sauce or apple puree, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, plain flour [or all-purpose flour], baking powder, and salt.
An added bonus is that there is no need to refrigerate the cookie dough before rolling out and baking.
Step 1: Add the margarine, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla to a mixing bowl.
Step 2: Use either an electric hand whisk or a mixing spoon to cream the ingredients together.
Step 3: Next, add the apple sauce or apple puree [we used apple purée from a jar which was pink in colour!] and plant-based milk, and stir well.
Step 4: Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl, and add the salt.
Step 5: Next, add the white chocolate and dried cranberries.
Step 6: Give it all a good mix.
Step 7: Scoop 12 cookie dough balls onto a baking sheet.
Step 8: Bake for 14 minutes.
Step 9: Leave to cool on the baking tray and once the cookies are firm enough to lift, transfer them to a cooling rack.
These vegan cookies are deliciously soft and chewy with slightly sticky and melty insides if enjoyed soon after baking but cooled enough to pick up! This recipe can be easily switched up - for example instead of dried cranberries try dried raspberries and perhaps dark chocolate [semi-sweet] instead of white - to bake chocolate raspberry cookies.
📋 Recipe notes
Cookies will keep for up to 5-7 days if stored within an airtight cookie tin or jar, or wrapped in kitchen foil and stored within a covered food container.
Or freeze for 3-4 months, well wrapped to avoid freezer burn.
White chocolate is a type of chocolate that is made from three main ingredients: cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. Cocoa butter is the fat that is extracted from cocoa beans and is the main ingredient that gives white chocolate its creamy texture. Milk solids are what gives the chocolate the milky flavour. Unlike dark or milk chocolate, white chocolate does not contain cocoa solids, which is why it has a pale creamy white colour instead of the typical brown of traditional chocolate. Its flavour profile is usually described as rich, buttery, and smooth.
Vegan white chocolate does not contain any animal ingredients especially dairy. Vegan white chocolate needs to create the creamy texture and sweet flavour of traditional white chocolate without using the milk solids, so instead plant-based milk alternatives such as almond, rice, or coconut milk are used in place of the dairy milk solids. The base of vegan white chocolate is still cocoa butter, which maintains the creamy texture, and of course sugar is added for sweetness.
Often, vegan versions might include additional flavourings, such as vanilla, to enhance the flavour. As vegan white chocolate does not contain dairy it can also be a good choice for those requiring a lactose-free diet due to an intolerance or allergy.
Any vegan or dairy-free white chocolate is fine for cookies - and can be either a bar of white chocolate or chocolate drops or chips.
Moo Free a vegan chocolate supplier, produce white chocolate bars, white chocolate buttons, and white chocolate baking drops, which can be found in many supermarkets, their online store, and health shops or wholefood stores.
For our cookies we used a few packs of the small Moo Free white chocolate bars as they cope well with baking as they melt nicely and set firm once cool. They also have a nice creamy flavour.
However, many local supermarkets or grocery stores produce their own versions of vegan white chocolate such as Sainsbury's Free From White Chocolate Bar, Tesco's Free From White Chocolate Bar and Free From White Chocolate Buttons and Asda's Free From White Choc Bar and White Choc Buttons.
Image below: A packet of dried cranberries, Stork baking spread, and a pile of Moo Free White Chocolate Bars.
Of course, feel free to use whatever type or flavour of vegan chocolate that you have to hand for these cookies. If using a bar of vegan chocolate or chocolate buttons just break those up into smaller chunks or pieces.
Yes, if preferred sub out the dried cranberries for a similar dried fruit such as sultanas, raisins, currants, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, apricots, dates, etc. If a larger dried fruit is used then do slice those up into smaller pieces similar to the size of a raisin. Alternatively, candied or glace cherries can be used.
We use apple sauce as its a common egg replacer for vegan baking and it compliments the cookies fruity dried cranberry flavours.
There are many other reasons why apple sauce is used in vegan baking. For example apple sauce is great for adding moisture to egg-free cookies so can help prevent the cookies from drying out too fast and it can help make the cookie texture softer.
In traditional baking, eggs are often used as a binding agent to hold the ingredients together so with egg-free cookies apple sauce can serve a similar function as it can help to bind the cookie dough giving structure to the cookies.
Another reason for using apple sauce in vegan baking is that it makes good use of its natural sweetness, which for some recipes can help reduce the amount of added sugar required. Likewise apple sauce can also act as a substitute for some of the fat in the recipe (like butter or oil).
If your concerned about the whether the apple sauce will impart too much apple flavour to the finished bake then don't worry as the flavour is a subtle one and does not tend to over power the rest of the bake. For our cookie recipe the apple sauce helps boost the fruity flavours of the dried cranberries but the cookies do not actually taste like apples.
Any type of apple sauce that you have available is fine for these cookies. No special apple sauce needs to be sourced as regular apple sauce that is intended for use with savoury dishes - such as Colemans apple sauce - is fine for baking. If your apple sauce is a chunky version or is made up of small pieces of cubed apples then it may be best to puree or mash the sauce into a smoother sauce, so that the texture of the cookies is retained.
Apple puree can also be used and this can usually be sourced in many wholefood stores or health food shops. Apple puree tends to be packaged in jars and is usually just 100% apples, so ideal for baking.
Alternatively, prepare some home-made apple sauce or puree by stewing chopped fresh apples with a few tablespoons of water until they are really soft. Mash the apples with a potato masher or puree with an immersion stick blender or similar. Freeze any extra apple sauce in ice cube trays and then once frozen pop out the cubes and keep in a freezer bag. When a few tablespoons of apple sauce are required for a recipe simply pull out a few cubes to defrost.
Image below: A 700 gram jar of apple puree that cost about £2.20 from our local wholefood shop.
Yes, if preferred you can use golden syrup, maple syrup, date syrup, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar or a similar type of syrup.
We used Stork baking spread which is labelled vegan but any vegan margarine, vegan butter, or vegan-friendly baking spread can be used.
If you use vegan butter do soften it up a little by leaving it sitting at room temperature for a short while as chilled vegan butter can be quite firm which can make mixing it into the other ingredients more difficult.
Also, its best not to use a diet or reduced fat margarine as these tend to contain more liquid so are usually not suitable for baking cookies.
💭 Three cookie baking top tips
- If your chilled vegan margarine or butter is quite firm then bring it to room temperature for easier creaming with the sugars.
- Cream the margarine and sugars until creamy but avoid over-mixing the dough once the flour is added to prevent tough cookies.
- Preheat your oven to the correct temperature for even baking, and keep a close eye on the cookies since oven temperatures can vary, removing them when they are set and lightly golden. Once baked the cookies will still be soft in the middle to touch but will firm up more as they cool.
🍪 More vegan cookie recipes
There's nothing better during the chilly holiday season that cosying up on the sofa to watch a festive movie, with a warm mug of your favourite tea, coffee, or hot cocoa, and treating your family to your latest batch of home-baked cookies.
We love traditional, old-fashioned, vintage, and classic cookies so a few of our family favourites are these Peanut Butter Cookies and these Chocolate Chip Cookies and our kids all-time favourite are these Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and my favourite are these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies as they are similar to take-out or deli cookies!
All our home-made cookies are prepared with every-day pantry ingredients, and are dairy and egg-free but seriously no one will know any difference!
For more cookies have a look at our collection of Vegan Cookies and Biscuit Recipes.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
- Baking tray [cookie sheet]
- Baking paper.
- Mixing bowl
- electric hand whisk optional, as can use a mixing spoon
- mixing spoon
- small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon
- cooling rack
- 90 gram margarine [such as Stork baking spread or Flora dairy free]
- 75 gram granulated sugar
- 55 gram dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons apple sauce [or apple puree or stewed and mashed apples]
- 2 tablespoons soya milk [or your usual milk]
- 225 grams plain flour [all-purpose flour]
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt [we use sea salt]
- 100 grams vegan white chocolate [if using a bar or chocolate buttons break those up into small chunks or use white chocolate chips or drops]
- 90 grams dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan/ 180C / 356 Fahrenheit / Gas 4.
- Line the baking tray with baking paper.
- Add the margarine, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Using an electric hand whisk or a mixing spoon whip the ingredients until they are creamed together. Using an electric hand whisk this should take 30-60 seconds but if using a mixing spoon it may take about 2 minutes.90 gram margarine, 75 gram granulated sugar, 55 gram dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Next add the apple sauce and milk and whisk some more until fully combined. If mixing with a mixing spoon the mixture may look curdled but it will be fine. A hand whisk reduces the likelihood of the mixture splitting.2 tablespoons apple sauce, 2 tablespoons soya milk
- Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixing bowl on top of the mixed ingredients. Sprinkle in the salt.225 grams plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Add the white chocolate pieces along with the dried cranberries.100 grams vegan white chocolate, 90 grams dried cranberries
- Using a mixing spoon stir all the ingredients together. Make sure that all the flour has been mixed thoroughly.
- Scoop up the cookie dough with an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon and drop onto the baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between each cookie. As a guide each cookie will weigh between 50-60 grams.
- If the cookie balls are messy just use a teaspoon to gently smooth the edges more into ball shape. Don't press the cookie balls down as they are supposed to be chunky.
- Bake for 14 minutes on the middle oven shelf. [if using a fan oven check the cookies at the 12 minute mark as fan ovens tend to bake faster]
- Cookies will be set and firm to the touch but don't press to hard as they will still be soft inside. The cookies will firm up more as they cool. When just out of the oven the cookies may look a bit puffed up but as they cool they will settle down but will still be chunky.
- Leave the cookies on the baking tray to cool for about 15-20 minutes or until they are easy to lift up and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Nutritional information is for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients can vary.
- Store cookies in a cookie jar or tin, or within a food container wrapped in kitchen foil for up to 5-7 days.
- Or freeze for 3-4 months.
- Dried cranberries can be replaced with raisins, sultanas, goji berries, dried blueberries, cherries, or raspberries, or any other dried fruits. Although do chop any large pieces of dried fruit into smaller pieces - such as dried apricots or dates.
- Vegan white chocolate can be replaced with dairy-free dark [semi-sweet] chocolate or your preferred vegan chocolate.
- Stork baking spread was used for these cookies.
- Moo Free white chocolate bars was used for these cookies - we chopped these into small chunks similar in size to chocolate chips or chocolate drops.
- Any shop-bought apple sauce or apple puree from a jar or tub is fine for this recipe. If your apple sauce is chunky or has cubed apple pieces then use an immersion stick blender to smooth the sauce out. Or mash well with a potato masher.
- Home-made apple sauce can be used - chop any type of eating or dessert apples into small pieces and cook with a few tablespoons of water until soft. Mash until smooth or blend.
- We used apple puree that was sourced from our local wholefood shop and is packaged in a jar. It was a 700 gram jar of apple puree but we froze the leftover puree in ice cube trays. Once frozen the cubes were popped out and stored within a freezer bag for future recipes. Before freezing you can weigh the amount that each ice cube cup holds so that you know the weight of each ice cube, and can then pull out however many cubes you require for individual recipes.
Baked our chunky Vegan White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies? Do let us know how you got on with the recipe by dropping us a comment below and clicking the star ratings. It's very much appreciated. Thanks so much, Jacq x