Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cranberry White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

It's midterm season; a time of cramming; a time filled with stress; and most importantly, a time for cookies. There's a reason Insomnia Cookies makes such great profits this time of year. But wait; who need's Insomnia Cookies when you can bake them yourself? There's just something about the warm, buttery, sweet taste of a fresh baked cookie that lifts one's spirits. In fact just the enticing aroma of cookies in the oven is enough to clear my worries. Today's post was guiltily written in the midst of midterms. Just thinking about all of my exams, homework, and extracurricular commitments makes my head hurt. So, I've decided I'm just not going to think about it. Instead, I baked some cookies and took a bite of heaven that had no guilt attached. These cookies are the perfect compromise between crispy and chewey. If you want to share and have picky friends, this recipe is sure to please them all. The edge is buttery and crisp while the center stays moist and chewy. Irresistibly studded with dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, and white chocolate, they will be gone before you know it. Next time you're feeling the blues, I hope these cookies will help you too. (Wow, that almost rhymed.) Without further adieu, here is the recipe:

Cranberry White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies
2c flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¾ c melted unsalted butter
¾ c brown sugar
½ c granulated sugar
Zest from one small orange
1 tbsp vanilla
½ tsp instant expresso
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
¾ c chopped macadamia nuts
½ c white chocolate chips
½ c dried cranberries

Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large separate bowl, blend butter with sugar until smooth. Dissolve instant expresso in vanilla in a small bowl. Add orange zest, vanilla mixture, the egg, and egg yolk to butter mixture and mix well. Stir together wet and dry ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in nuts, chocolate, and cranberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 30 minutes. (This makes the dough easier to work with.) Preheat oven to 325. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart (you can use two spoons for this or just use your hands if you're like me.) Bake in batches for 12-18 minutes or until the edges are golden. Don't over bake them! Oven temperatures and cookie size will vary, so check them after the minimum time and adjust accordingly. The cookies will be slightly soft in the center when done. They'll continue to cook a little bit after you remove them from the oven.(Return the remaining dough to the fridge while you bake your first batch). Remove from oven and cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy! Notes: If you are fortunate enough to have a large oven and multiple cookie sheets, feel free to bake them all at once. Just make sure to rotate the pans and switch the rack they’re on halfway through the baking time. Also, these are most delicious warm out of the oven but you can recreate that gooey, melty state by nuking them for 8-15 seconds before eating.

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