Saturday, June 1, 2013

Baker's Corner: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies



For the next few weeks, I'm going to be pulling out posts from my drafts folder because I have family visiting from India and the US and I'll be too busy painting the town red to spend much time on my blog *grins sheepishly*

The last time I baked cookies, I was gloating because I had finally found the perfect cookie recipe! That recipe was for Chocolate Chip Cookies which was an adapted recipe from Jacques Torres which was published on the New York times in 2008. The texture was exactly what I was looking for in a cookie - soft, chunky and chewy and they tasted great. Since then, I've baked Chocolate Chip Cookies many times, always with consistently good results. However, the next time I was to bake cookies, I wanted to give it a twist.

When I was in the US for a brief amount of time, me and hubby used to do our weekly grocery shopping at this store (don't remember the name) that was a stone's throw away from our apartment in Milwaukee. We frequently used to buy White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies from there which soon became a favorite of mine. They were giant cookies which were soft, chunky and had lovely bursts of sweetness from the white chocolate and the subtle nuttiness from the macadamias. Whenever I would take a bite out of those cookies, I would always think oh how nice it would be if I could make them myself! So with that memory in mind, I thought I'd stick to my trusty cookie recipe and just replace the dark chocolate with white chocolate and throw in some macadamia nuts. 

I was sure the cookies would turn out fine and they did. I simply love the white chocolate-macadamia nut combination. As has become a habit of mine, I distributed the cookies to a whole lot of friends and colleagues 

Here is the recipe. It is very versatile so you can incorporate whatever you like into the cookie dough. Maybe next time, I'll do something with peanut butter chips! 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Preparation time: 30-45 mins, plus at least 24 hrs chilling
Baking time: 16-20 mins per batch
Makes: ~ 50 small cookies
Recipe Category: Dessert/American
Recipe Level: Easy
Recipe Source: Adapted from here

Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour
1-2/3 cups bread flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2-1/2 sticks (11/4 cup) butter, softened
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup white fine granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips or white chocolate bar chopped, keep chilled
1-1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts
Sea salt to sprinkle over the cookies just before baking, Optional

Method:
  1. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Keep aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (~5 mins). Use a mixer with a paddle attachment for this purpose. 
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. This step is very important. 
  5. Drop the chocolate chips and macadamia nuts in and incorporate gently without breaking them. Press a sheet of plastic wrap against dough and stick your bowl in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours. The chilling makes handling much easier and helps to churn out better cookies. 
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 deg F/175 dec C. Line the baking tray with parchment paper. 
  7. Scoop lime-sized balls of dough onto your baking sheet, at least 1-1/2 inches apart. I used a small ice cream scoop for this purpose. The cookies spread out on their own as they bake. 
  8. Bake in the oven (on level 3) for 16-20 mins until golden brown yet still soft. 
  9. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool for atleast 10 mins. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
  10. Enjoy the cookies while they are still warm, with a tall glass of milk. 


Notes:
  • Use good quality fresh ingredients when you are baking. It makes a world of difference
  • The cookie dough may be used in batches and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours
  • I skipped sprinkling the sea salt on top of the cookies before baking but you can go ahead with this step
  • Cooling the cookies is very important because when they come out of the oven they will be quite soft
  • It is always better to under bake the cookies ever so slightly because the cookies continue to cook after you take them out of the oven
  • Storing the cookies in an air-tight container will preserve its freshness

Cheers,


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