Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Cookies

Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Cookies - made dough August 10, 2015, recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Remember the last white chocolate chip cookie recipe I posted was a little too sweet for me with the toffee and white chocolate chips? I decided to try a different version with macadamia nuts to cut the sweetness.

Macadamia nuts are that rare exception where I like nuts in cookies as long as they're macadamia nuts in a white chocolate and/or coconut cookie. Something about macadamia nuts pairs very well with both and makes me forgive their presence in a cookie. I can all too easily overeat macadamia nuts by themselves which is why I rarely have them except in cookies. They're expensive and we didn't have them often when I was growing up so they were in the rare-treat category, typically when someone was traveling or visiting from Hawaii and brought us a jar of Mauna Loa macadamia nuts or a box of chocolate-covered macadamias.

I had my usual reticence in using a cookie recipe with shortening in it but it had the saving grace of butter as well so I went with it. I know why the recipe authors did it this way; butter gives the flavor and the shortening prevents spreading. The dough was easy to work with even though it was warm when I made this so I had to work quickly to portion it into dough balls, porcupine it with white chocolate chips on the outside and freeze them.
I learned the porcupine trick awhile back for any cookie that has chips in it. You mix almost all of the chips into the batter but reserve a generous handful or two and stick the remaining chips on the outside of the cookie. When it bakes, you have a cookie visually bursting with chocolate chips.
This was a pretty standard white chocolate macadamia cookie (but remember I have high standards). It met my criteria in that it stayed thick enough to nicely incorporate the chunky macadamia nuts and the shortening, despite my prejudices, did its job in also adding a little crispness to the cookie as well as keeping its shape. The flavor of the brown sugar really makes the cookie to provide a good backdrop for the white chocolate. My only angst came from the browning of the white chocolate due to the heat and baking time. It didn't affect the flavor, just the appearance. There's no getting around it that I can figure out even if you try underbaking. You want to bake these long enough for the edges to brown and the middles to get chewy, not mushy. I actually advocate letting these cool completely instead of eating lukewarm or 10 minutes out of the oven. At freshly baked room temperature, they have a better texture. I took the pics at fully cooled an hour after they came out of the oven and really liked both the taste and texture.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, toasted, rough chop
  1. Cream butter and shortening together until blended. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until creamy. Add baking soda, salt, eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  2. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until just blended.
  3. Add white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts, reserving a handful of each.
  4. Portion dough into golf-ball-size dough balls and press reserved chocolate chips and macadamia nuts on the outside of each. Cover and chill or freeze for several hours until firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space dough balls, about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden brown and middles no longer look raw or shiny. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling completely.

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