NOTE: I created this recipe in 2014 after trying the welcome bars at the Hilton Garden Inn. The cookies they are currently serving are different, so if you want to recreate the current recipe, this is not it.
I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! I was somewhat hesitant to do so this year since I’ve been traveling so much, but I’m so glad I did. It gave me a chance to share some of my favorite cookies with people, and I got to taste cookies from some amazing bloggers. It also gives me a chance to share a story that I was too embarrassed to share earlier, but now that I’m posting this recipe, I can’t hide my crazy anymore.
A few months before my wedding, I went to check out some hotels near my parents’ house in Indiana that our guests would be staying in. After a trip to the Hilton Garden Inn, the manager offered us some of their cookies, warm and fresh our of the oven. I’m not often impressed by hotel cookies, but these were good. Really good. Essentially, they’re oatmeal cookies with cranberries, blueberries, and white chocolate chips. And apparently crack, because they’re totally addictive (don’t worry people who received my cookies, I left that ingredient out).
When I got back home to Dallas, instead of focusing on my upcoming wedding, I became obsessed with recreating these cookies. I even went to a few local Hilton Garden Inn’s so I could get some cookies to aid in the recreation process. They all refused to sell me any and looked at me like I was crazy.
I did, however, manage to get my hands on a list of ingredients, and I found out that the original recipe uses no butter or eggs. However, I like the flavor of butter in my cookies, so I used a half butter half shortening combo, but feel free to use all shortening to make them more authentic. I didn’t like any of the eggless varieties of these cookies that I tested, so I added an egg to mine. I also made these cookies mini, because when it comes to snacks, I’m a fan of quantity. If you decide to make larger cookies, you’ll need to adjust the baking time.
To keep these cookies from spreading, shape them into squares and freeze them for at least one hour before baking. Alternatively, you can roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, freeze it, and then cut it into squares. If you don’t care if they look exactly like the original Hilton Garden Inn Cookies, there’s no need to shape the cookies in advance. You can just chill the dough in the fridge for an hour before baking.
Update: I was confused by some of the comments that said there was lemon in this cookie, as I did not taste any at all. A commenter recently mentioned that her dad was a food and beverage manager at a Hilton Garden Inn, and that the recipe has changed. When I posted this recipe back in 2014, HGI got their “reception bars” from a company called Sysco. Now they make them in house, which may account for some of the flavor differences from the cookies I tasted originally to the cookies that are available now. However, based on the comments I tried a batch with a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest added and I liked the flavor so much that I make it that way all the time now!
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 dried blueberries (or blueberry craisins)
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup plus all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
- For topping:
- Rolled Oats
- Sparkling sugar or turbinado sugar
- Place the dried cranberries, blueberries, and white chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse a few times until you get smaller bits. (This step is optional, but leads to a more authentic cookie).
- With an electric mixer (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar for 1-2 minutes. Don't over mix, as this can cause the cookies to spread.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for an additional 30 seconds until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat on low until just combined.
- Stir in the quick oats and the cranberry/blueberry white chocolate mixture.
- Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough and shape them into squares with your hands. Place the shaped cookies onto the cookie sheets and top with rolled oats and sparkling sugar.
- Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes, until the edges start to lightly brown.
- Cool completely on wire racks.
Cookie recipe adapted from allrecipes.com