The holidays are here again, and this year, we have Star Wars in the mix. The big holiday in the Star Wars universe is Wookiee Life Day, as first depicted in 1978’s so-bad-it’s-not-remotely-good The Star Wars Holiday Special. Despite LucasFilm’s best efforts to erase it from the world’s collective memory, the legacy of The Star Wars Holiday Special has endured, primarily because it contained a not-terrible animated short that marked the first appearance of Boba Fett. I could describe some of the special’s many, many baffling artistic choices (whole conversations entirely in untranslated Wookiee language! interminable musical numbers, one of which is performed by Bea Arthur!), but that would make it sound sort of entertaining, which I assure you it is not. When I decided to watch a bootleg of it years ago, I expected a real laff riot and ended up sinking slowly into my couch as the show sapped my will to live, which cannot be the intended result of a show that revolves around the celebration of Wookiee Life Day.
I could tell you all about Life Day, but the fine folks at the endearingly complete fan-run Star Wars wiki Wookieepedia have collected all extant information about it—both within the fictional universe and behind the scenes—in this thoroughly researched article. I cannot recommend watching The Star Wars Holiday Special for yourself, but you are capable of making your own life decisions. It has never been made commercially available, but the whole thing is on YouTube thanks to some fine early adopter who owned a VCR in 1978.
While Life Day began as a Wookiee observance, over time, it spread through the galaxy and was adopted by other cultures. Obviously, it reached our planet in 1978, and I choose to celebrate it like I do the other Winter Solstice-adjacent holidays: by baking cookies. These cookies contain all the major food groups: fruit, nuts, and chocolate. They are a big hit anytime I take them to a party, and they’re hearty enough to satisfy a seven-foot Wookiee.
Wookiee Life Day Cookiees
Makes 24-36 cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened but not melted
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate mini-chips
- 1/2 cup white or milk chocolate chips*
*You can substitute other types of chips: butterscotch, peanut butter, cinnamon, toffee, mini-M&Ms (but not mint because the combo with the cranberries gives you that “orange juice and toothpaste” flavor sensation).
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Beat the softened butter for 30 seconds with an electric mixer. Add both sugars, the baking soda, and the salt. Beat until combined and a little fluffy, then beat in the egg and vanilla.
Then beat the flour into the butter-sugar mixture, adding flour in 3 or 4 stages. The dough will be stiff when all the flour is added.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cranberries, nuts, and whatever chips you’re using. I recommend using finely chopped walnuts and mini-chips for the chips, because it makes it easier to incorporate them into the dough. You’re about to add A LOT of goodies into your cookies – the dough mostly functions as goodie-glue.
It’s time to mix the goodies in. I recommend doing it by hand, even if you made the dough with an electric mixer. I have a stand mixer with a fairly strong motor, but it starts making sad noises once all the goodies go in.
Once the dough is done, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make balls of dough about 1.5-2 inches in diameter and place them at least two inches apart. These are hearty cookies, so you can make them smaller to get more cookies in a batch, and they’ll still be satisfying.
Bake at 325F for 16-22 minutes. Actual time depends on cookie size. When the cookies are beginning to get golden on top, pull them out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack by gently sliding the cookie-laden parchment off the baking sheet onto the rack. Cool and enjoy!
This recipe doubles easily if you want to make a lot for the holidays. Put them in a cute container and they make a nice gift! They also hold up well when mailed, so they’re a good choice to ship to a friend who lives in a galaxy far, far away.