Happy 2014! I had plans to cook and bake so many things and share them with you last month, including these White Chocolate-Macadamia Cookies. That all went out the window as the holiday season got so busy. I love that time of year, but it's downright stressful and tires me out. Even my vacation time was hectic since we hadn't gotten around to sending out cards, getting a tree, or shipping out the annual family cookies. And my sister has to have her cookies -- it was our birthday! We're Christmas twins and my dad's birthday is in the same week, so it's always a big time of year in my family.
Another thing that kept us busy was our new family member! Joe and I adopted Betty from the local shelter a few days before Christmas. Her name is enormously popular among our friends and family, s
But just because I wasn't posting doesn't mean my kitchen wasn't seeing lots of use. This year we included Hot Chocolate on a Stick (recipe by Giver's Log) in our cookie baskets. Who wouldn't want hot cocoa with their cookies? You stir it into a mug of hot milk, and it's instant hot chocolate! I also made homemade Vanilla Marshmallows, and you can kind of see a snowflake-shaped one in the back piped with dark chocolate.
For my friends' British-themed Christmas party, I made Braided Lemon Bread filled with lemon curd.
I also made my Mini-Cornish Beef Pasties for the party. These are ready to go in the oven.
This year I switched up the Christmas Butter Cookies -- Joe's dad's favorite -- by decorating them with white chocolate instead of royal icing. White chocolate dries so much faster.
And everybody else's favorite is the Linzer Cookie. It's labor-intensive for me, so it's reserved for Christmas and maybe Valentine's Day also. Everybody just loves the hazelnut cookies sandwiched with jam and dusted with snowy sugar.
The new cookie this year was the White Chocolate-Macadamia. This recipe by chocolate baking expert Alice Medrich is not overly sugary like those storebought versions, and the oats give it some hearty flavor. The cookies come out soft and chewy with crisp, golden bottoms. The dough needs to sit in the fridge for at least two hours, so plan ahead. I didn't love the cookies as I'd hoped, but I should disclose that I'm not usually a fan of white chocolate. I fall into the camp of people who find it inferior to "real" chocolate. But if you like white chocolate, this cookie's for you. You can also make the dough ahead of time, scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, freeze until hard, and bake when needed. Store them in zip-top bags in the freezer once they've fully hardened. They'll bake at the same temperature and time, and add a minute or two to the baking time if needed.
Here's to 2014!
Macadamia and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
From Alice Medrich's Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
¾ cup (2.5 ounces) rolled oats
¾ cup (3.375 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
8 tbs unsalted butter, melted and still warm
⅓ cup (2.33 ounces) granulated sugar
⅓ cup (2.33 ounces) packed brown sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (4.5 ounces) dry-roasted salted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips, or 6 ounces chopped white chocolate
Pulverize the oats in a food processor or blender until fine. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and pulse to combine. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugars and vanilla. Whisk in the egg. Stir in the flour mixture just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes if it is at all warm. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator to soften. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough and place about 2 inches apart on pans ungreased or lined with foil, dull side up. Bake until the cookies are deep golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking time to ensure even baking. For unlined pans, use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks to cool; for lined pans, set the pans or just the liners on racks. Cool the cookies completely before storing or stacking. May be kept in an airtight container for several days.