Sunday, September 22, 2013

Buttery Good

The December 2012 issue of Saveur Magazine has a selection of recipes using white chocolate, including the cover recipe for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. The cookies are a bit crispy and a bit chewy and infused with the complementary flavors of macadamia nuts and white chocolate...always one of my favorite combinations for cookies.

Recently I decided to make a batch of them to bring as dessert for a dinner we were invited to. When I went to the store for the macadamia nuts, I found that a can of nuts with a coffee glaze were far less expensive than plain macadamias. This gave me an excellent opportunity to play with the recipe.
A hallmark of these cookies is a buttery goodness and the almost butterscotch flavor from the brown sugar. Since the nuts had a coffee glaze, I decided to add the flavor of coffee to the batter, too. Some espresso powder took care of that. You could really taste it in the uncooked cookie dough, but it was just a hint of coffee in the baked cookies, so the buttery aspect was still dominant. Every once in a while you also bite down on a bit of the glaze, so you get a sweeter hint of coffee. These were good cookies in the original recipe, but now they are outstanding. The white chocolate is very mellow but a nice counterpoint to the coffee and the nuts keep the buttery flavors going. I used Guittard white chocolate discs, unchopped, but any good quality white chocolate will do. Chop it into chunks if it is a whole bar.

Two parts of the instructions are very important: be sure to beat the butter and sugar for at least three whole minutes. It may seem like a long time, but this helps the sugars dissolve a bit and makes sure that there is enough air in the dough. Also, leave the full two inches between dough balls. These cookies tend to spread a lot.

I made super sized cookies that were about 6 inches across when baked, just because it is a fun presentation. No one needs more than one cookie, although I made sure there were extra, just in case.

I know that macadamia nuts are expensive, but once in a while it's nice to treat oneself to a buttery, sweet, nutty indulgence.

White Chocolate Coffee Macadamia Nut Cookies
based on a recipe in Saveur Magazine, Dec. 2012

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1/2 pound)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz. roughly chopped white chocolate
8 oz. roughly chopped coffee glazed macadamia nuts
(or use plain macadamia nuts if coffee glazed ones are unavailable)

Whisk together flour, salt , baking soda and espresso powder in a bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, beat sugars and butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth; beat in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined; stir in white chocolate and chopped macadamia nuts.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Using a large spoon, shape dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 14 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store airtight up to 3 days (if they last that long!).

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