Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries

Tender Chocolate, Cranberry and Carmel Pastries, these sweet treats have such a unique filling that is made from cranberry jelly, dulce de leche and butter. It makes the pastries so soft each bite is heavenly. The dulce de leche and butter are so creamy and give these pastries a smooth caramel flavor. The cranberry jelly pairs so well with it, forming that sweet and tart combination. They are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea.

This time of year in our family, there is a lot of baking going on. My Mom started this tradition, and every year, we bake lots of cookies and pastries to fill up festive plates and give as gifts to family, friends, co-workers, and if you should happen to stop by my parents’ house, you’ll end up with a plate of goodies too.

When I got married, I quickly found out that it’s not as easy to bake 10-15 types of cookies all by myself. Teamwork made it so much quicker. With 3 sisters and my Mom, who is faster than a machine, we could make those cookie boxes fill up so fast.

I still love to make cookies for Christmas. I think there’s something so special about giving a homemade gift, especially if it’s something edible and sweet to boot. This is one of my personal favorites. They are one of the first to disappear in the midst of all the other choices, so there is something about them that is irresistible and has people reaching for seconds once they try one.

Ingredients:

Pastries:

9 eggs

1 3/4 – 2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sour cream

3 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 teaspoon vinegar

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Filling:

1 (14 oz) can cranberry jelly

1 (14 oz) can dulce de leche

3/4 cup butter, softened

Pastries:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed half sheet pans (13 inches x 18 inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, mix the eggs and sugar until they are pale yellow and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-3Add the melted butter, sour cream, the baking soda dissolved in vinegar and mix to combine.

In another medium bowl, mix the flour and cocoa together or sift into the batter. (The cocoa tends to get lumpy, so it helps to give it a good stir.) Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-4Add to the batter and mix to combine. Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-6Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared baking sheets. Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-8Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Cool.

Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-13Filling:

Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until evenly combined.

Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-11To assemble:

You can be as creative as you want at this point, by creating different shapes, etc. I’ve made them into circles and diamond shaped as well.

I decided to make small squares this time. Cut the pastry sheets into 1 1/2 inch squares. (It really doesn’t matter on the size; I’m just telling you the size that I made this time.) Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-15Set aside all the trimmings and pulse them in a food processor to make crumbs. You can also combine the crumbs with finely chopped nuts.

Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-17Spread the filling on top of a piece of square and sandwich another square on top of it. Spread the filling all the way around the square and coat it completely in the crumbs. I actually like to cut the squares in half horizontally and put filling in between them, and then place 3-4 thin squares together so that they have more filling, more flavor and are even more tender. Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-21Repeat with the rest of your little squares. Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-23I got about 70-80 little squares out of this batch of 1 1/2 inch pieces. The squares will bulk up a lot and become much thicker after you dredge them in the crumbs. Keep in mind that you will need to use part of the pastry for crumbs. You will also have some of the filling left over. (I just left the recipe the way it is because it’s just a convenient amount to mix. However, if you cut the little squares in half, you may use all the filling.)

You can certainly halve the recipe if you don’t want to make such a large batch. Since I need a lot of cookies to give away, I usually make at least one, sometimes two batches.

Even though most of the time I am in the kitchen by myself, I pull up the chair to my awesome dining room table, turn on some of my favorite podcasts, like Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, Adventures in Odyssey or Living on the Edge and the time just flies by. It’s also a great time to watch some movies. Spending a few days in the kitchen doesn’t have to be dismal and monotonous. Not only will you be creating delicious munchies for your loved ones, you’ll have a great time yourself. It’s actually kind of peaceful and relaxing:). And totally worth it.Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries-1-25 2

Store the baked and assembled Chocolate Cranberry and Caramel Pastries at room temperature 3-5 days in a closed box or container.

You can also freeze them up to a month in advance in a freezer ziplock bag or an airtight container.

Chocolate, Cranberry and Caramel Pastries
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 70-80 pastries
Ingredients
Pastries:
  • 9 eggs
  • 1¾ - 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups butter, melted
  • 1½ cups sour cream
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 4½ cups all purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Filling:
  • 1 (14 oz) can cranberry jelly
  • 1 (14 oz) can dulce de leche
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
Instructions
Pastries:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed half sheet pans (13 inches x 18 inches) with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, or using a large bowl and a hand mixer, mix the eggs and sugar until they are pale yellow and fluffy, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the melted butter, sour cream, the baking soda dissolved in vinegar and mix to combine.
  4. In another medium bowl, mix the flour and cocoa together or sift into the batter. (The cocoa tends to get lumpy, so it helps to give it a good stir.) Add to the batter and mix to combine.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Cool.
Filling:
  1. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients in a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer until evenly combined.
To assemble:
  1. You can be as creative as you want at this point, by creating different shapes, etc. I decided to make small squares this time. Cut the pastry sheets into 1½ inch squares. (It really doesn't matter on the size; I'm just telling you the size that I made this time.) Set aside all the trimmings and pulse them in a food processor to make crumbs. You can also combine the crumbs with finely chopped nuts.
  2. Spread the filling on top of a piece of square and sandwich another square on top of it. Spread the filling all the way around the square and coat it completely in the crumbs. Repeat with the rest of your little squares. I actually like to cut the squares in half horizontally and put filling in between them, and then place 3-4 thin squares together so that they have more filling, more flavor and are even more tender.
  3. I got about 70-80 little squares out of this batch of 1½ inch pieces. Keep in mind that you will need to use part of the pastry for crumbs. You will also have some of the filling left over, however, if you cut the little squares in half, you may use up all of it.
Notes
Store the baked and assembled Chocolate Cranberry and Caramel Pastries at room temperature 3-5 days in a closed box or container.

You can also freeze them up to a month in advance in a freezer ziplock bag or an airtight container.

 

42 Comments

    • olgak7

      Dina, I wouldn’t recommend omitting the cranberry sauce, since it really balances out the flavor. If you’re afraid that it will taste tart, let me assure you that you will hardly taste the cranberries at all.
      However, you can adjust the recipe to your liking. I’m not going to be watching over your shoulder:).

  • Tatyana v

    Olga, you are a mind reader:) I tried something like that at one of the weddings and always wanted a recipe. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe with us , it will appear on our christmas table as well!

  • Viktoriya

    I love your blog! thank you so much for your hard work! i got a quick question, how to store these treats once you done making them, fridge or leave them out?

  • Oksana

    These look fantastic, and something my family would enjoy 🙂 how far in advance can I make them so they stay fresh for Christmas, Thanks!!!

    • olgak7

      I buy it in most grocery stores Inna, and it’s located in the baking aisle, the international aisle or next to the condensed milk.
      However, I know that dulce de leche isn’t sold everywhere across the country. In our area where we live, we have a large Mexican population, so it’s a common ingredient that is sold everywhere. In other areas, dulce de leche may not be available.

      • Terri

        Hi,

        I have a hard time finding dulce de leche too which is surprising considering we’re in Texas. I have found two recipes for a homemade version- one is from scratch milk, sugar, vanilla (Alton Brown) and the other involves simmering a can or few of condensed sweetened milk (Ree Drummond). Both work in a pinch.

        • olgak7

          Back in Belarus we only had condensed milk, so we always boiled it for recipes like this one:). It’s so convenient to have dulce de leche in the grocery stores, but when it’s not available, cooking condensed milk is the way I do it. I like using the slow cooker.

  • Lena

    Are all the measurements right in this recipe? I measured out everything carefully and my dough turned out VERY thick. I wasn’t even able to pour it in to pans, that’s how thick it was. 🙁

      • Terri

        I’ve had this happen in other recipes – double check the size of your eggs, 9 standard large eggs provides a different volume than 9 extra large or jumbo eggs. Also, since there is a considerable amount of flour in this recipe – how was the flour measured. Most bakers will scoop and level off directly with the measuring cup from their flour container which can add significant extra weight and flour the more cups a recipe calls for. If you use a scoop or spoon and use that to transfer the flour to your measuring cup the amount of flour may be a lot less and the batter not as dense. One cup flour should weight 4.5 oz (about 120 grams). It took tow burned out mixers before I learned this. 🙂

  • Nataliya

    I saw this was your favorite for holidays on momsdish.com so I’m giving this a try today, we got last day of Russian school tomorrow then Christmas break, so making this for my class. And if they turn our great, gonna be making some for holiday plate too. Thank you so much for your great recipes, I’m one of your daily followers 🙂

    • Natasha

      Olga I just made these and don’t know what I did wrong, they didn’t rise in the oven at all, could it be because I mixed melted butter, sour cream and baking soda before adding it to the egg mixture? They came out of the oven 1/2 inch tall.

  • Natasha

    Olga I just made these and don’t know what I did wrong, they didn’t rise in the oven at all, could it be because I mixed melted butter, sour cream and baking soda before adding it to the egg mixture? They came out of the oven 1/2 inch tall.

      • Nataliya

        Olga how tall they should be when just out of the oven? Maybe I’m expecting them to be like 1.5 -2 inch and they are about 1 inch tall, is that how they should be? I’m thinking there is lots of butter in the recipe so they probably wont rise too much in the oven.

        • olgak7

          They don’t rise too much; you can see it in the pictures, Nataliya. Look at the picture of the batter in the cookie sheet raw and then baked. This is not a sponge cake recipe. As I specified in the instructions, the pastries will bulk up a lot more when you add the filling and toss them in the crumbs.

    • olgak7

      Yes, that’s exactly the kind of jelly I’m talking about. Red currant jelly will work too. Really any kind of jam or jelly that has some tartness in it will work.

    • olgak7

      I have never tried making them without cocoa, Tammy. I don’t know how it will turn out and how it will taste. They do taste chocolaty, but not as chocolaty as brownies, if that makes sense.

        • olgak7

          Store the baked and assembled Chocolate Cranberry and Caramel Pastries at room temperature 3-5 days in a closed box or container.

          You can also freeze them up to a month in advance in a freezer ziplock bag or an airtight container.

  • Diana

    Hi Olga! I’m planning on making these this weekend so excited to try them! Is the cranberry jelly same thing as canned jellied cranberry sauce?

    Thanks!

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