Sunday, March 6, 2011

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies - made March 6, 2011 from Cookies, Brownies and Bars by Elinor Klivans

This doesn't count towards my baking challenge since I've already tried a recipe from this book (the awesome Caramel-Glazed Blondies) but I had some white chocolate and macadamias to use up and this recipe has been in my "Still Need to Make" file for months so I thought I might as well try it and knock it off the list, especially since I needed something to bring to my parents for the week and they prefer white chocolate cookies to regular chocolate chip cookies. 

Oh and remember how much I recommend a nut grinder for its time saving capabilities when you need to chop nuts?  I never use it with macadamia nuts because just about all the recipes I make with macadamia nuts calls them for to be big and chunky.  My nut grinder, even on the coarse grind, would make them too small.  The beauty and taste of the macadamia nuts is their size so I usually just do a (very) coarse chop.

I was a little concerned when I made the dough as it seemed rather soft.  I never bake cookie dough right after I make it but I always portion them into dough balls and freeze them first, preferably overnight.  That's to help with minimizing the cookie spread when they're baked.  But if your dough is too liquid, no matter how frozen the dough is to start with, some will still spread thin.  Of all the cookies I don't want to spread thin, anything with macadamia nuts is one of them because even coarsely chopped macadamia nuts can be sizable enough to stick out from a flat cookie.  You want the macadamia nuts to peek out shyly from the cookie, not wave their hands shrieking, "here we are!".

Unfortunately, I was right to be concerned about the soft cookie dough spreading.  Despite freezing the dough first and using the convection setting on my oven, these spread out more than I would've liked.  They baked more like a normal, soft-dough chocolate chip cookie and they were okay (crisp edges, moist, chewy middles) but not anything that different or special from a normal cookie.  With my jaded taste buds, these don't make the cut.  And yes, I can practically see my friends' rolling their eyes at me and saying, "I'm sure they're fine."  Maybe but in the white chocolate cookie category, I have to give the nod to Martha Stewart's recipe for White Chocolate Butterscotch cookies.  Now that's a cookie.  Next time, if I want to have less spread, I'd use half shortening, half butter for the recipe and go with dark brown sugar for a deeper flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, cold
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips
¾ cup unsalted roasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

1.     Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.  Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2.     In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Using a mixer on medium speed, beat until well blended, about 1 minute.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on low speed until the eggs are completely incorporated, scraping down the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.  Slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated.  Add the white chocolate chips and nuts and beat just until distributed.
3.     Place heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookie tops are lightly golden in the center, 10-12 minutes.
4.     Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then, using a wide metal spatula, transfer to wire racks to cool completely, about 30 minutes.  Repeat to bake and cool the remaining cookies.  Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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