10 October 2011

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cherries and Macadamia Nuts


For some reason, I have been out of the cookie baking routine. It must be that summertime was just too busy, the kitchen too hot, and the gardens and back yard too tempting. The last two weeks, though, have brought me back to cookie sheets, dough recipes, and freshening the cookie jars. Last week it was peanut butter cookies ... this week it's a basic chip cookie recipe, BUT... take out the semi-sweets and walnuts. Put in white chocolate chips, chopped dried cherries, and macadamia nuts. These cookies are killer!



I love pretty platters!

I first had these when my daughter, Kate brought the recipe home from Brooklyn. She made them as a special treat for a friend and the moment I tasted them, I was a fan. Dried fruits have since inspired me to play with what goes into different cookie doughs, quick breads, and salads. It's amazing what one little bite can do, huh ?!?

It occurred to me, too, that this recipe is a great one to pass on to any kid headed off to college or boarding school. What kid doesn't need a cookie fix every now and then, when the study crunch gets to be too much? Making an 'under the bed box' up with a few basic kitchen tools and cooking ingredients would be an awesome gift for anyone headed off to college. Those college dorm kitchens aren't the best equipped and it can be pretty frustrating for a kid to get the urge to cook up some homemade comfort and not have the goods! Just a thought, folks, as so many kids are heading(ed) off to school - Parents' Weekend is coming up! I thought of this because my young blogging friend, Max, is always sending me quick emails asking about easy recipes  - so I actually started a 'Basics' label just for him. These cookies have been duly labelled - one thing lead to another in my feeble little mind and there you have this rant! 

So ... the next question would be what to put in the 'under the bed' box - you know your particular student, so go for it, but I did get the coolest collapsible bowl from a Pampered Chef friend a few years ago and air-cushion cookie sheets, measuring spoons and a turner and wooden spoon for a friend's daughter as she headed out to school. Word has it she is extremely popular with her suitemates... just sayin'.

Back to these basics ...


I love cool cookie jars!

These cookies are a basic chocolate chip cookie dough  ... check it out.  I use half margarine and half butter and two teaspoons of vanilla. I also try to pay attention to the consistency of the dough after I beat the sugars and butter/margarine. If things look really loose, I up the flour amount just a bit to stiffen the dough. If you look at today's cookies, you will see how flat they are. I really should have added a bit more flour to make for more rise in the cookies ... my bad! They taste great, but they're too flat  for my aesthetic. Dang! I must be rusty!  I'll just have to practice more over the coming weeks!

In the meantime, here's that basic chocolate chip cookie dough recipe ... like you need it. Just in case, though!

Basic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Add-Ins Up To You!

Preheat oven to 365°F - bake cookies for about 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 stick (8 tbsp.) margarine
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
¾ c. light brown sugar
¾ c. white granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt

Making the Cookies:

1. Combine the sugars in a deep batter bowl and smash together to break up the brown sugar lumps.

2. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs and beat until smooth.

3. Whisk the baking soda and salt into the flour and add all at once, stirring to make a smooth dough.

4. Fold in you add- ins:

Add-ins – use some of these or be inventive and come up with your own!

¾ c. chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts are all good)
12 oz. bag chocolate chips – your favorites
¾ c. chopped dried fruit – dried cherries, apricots,
Heath Bar bits are killer, too!

5. Place by rounded teaspoonsful on ungreased baking sheets and bake.

6. Remove from the cookie sheets immediately upon removing from the oven and cool on a flat foil-lined surface.

Yield: 2 ½ to 3 dozen cookies















12 comments:

  1. These have to be just perfect!

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  2. This is a lovely base recipe that you can personalize to your own tastes. I still have some dried mango and pineapple..now you have got me inspired. Great combo that you chose also, the cherries and white chocolate are perfect for holidays. Well done.

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  3. A basic cookie douth that we can make our own is just "the ticket"when we feel the need for something sweet. An I can see why your friends daughter would be very popular when baking cookies.

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  4. god I adore that cookie jar!... and those cookies are perfect, as usual. I too haven't baked cookies for an age, maybe I need to get stuck in eh?

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  5. I wish my parents armed me with these cookies to take to university! Too abd I don't have an oven in my student halls though :s ... great cookies anyway :)

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  6. I'll be honest...I love eating cookies more than baking them. If you want to show up at my door with these...i wouldn't complain. :P

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  7. @ Joanne - Haha! I admit ... I bake cookies from Fall through Springtime, once a week. SB likes the cookie jars to be occupied ... he eats the lion's share, but I do love munching some too!

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  8. Great ideas for college kids. I wish I'd had a box of baking supplies under my bed during freshman year. Love the cookies. Basic recipes are the building blocks of every good dish!

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  9. hehe..my husband would be crazy for those cookies as you have just combined two of his favourite ingredients in one package!

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  10. They look marvelous Susan but I fear cookie baking - can't stand them when they aren't soft and chewy. How do these fare? Because I would love to fix these soon :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  11. @ Devaki - These are very soft and chewy, but they spread out too much in this batch ... I think you have to play with the flour content because margarine and butter (especially) can be inconsistent in the level of fats/milksolids (hence the margarine stick). I like dough that has a limited spread and a thickness in the rise of about 3/4 inch ... a bit crisp about the edges and chewy and gooey soft at the center ... not that I'm picky!

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  12. I love the cookie jar. I'm not crazy about dried cherries and might like to try dried cranberries instead. I love a good cookie recipe. Will bookmark this one. Thanks Susan

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