Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big White Chocolate, Almond, and Cranberry Cookies

This recipe means it: these cookies are big!  1/4 cup of dough for each cookie.  Even though they contain enough butter and sugar to stop your heart, they are amazingly good.  So, break out your colored Kitchenaid mixer that you got for your wedding and use once a year because these cookies are worth it! This recipe was a bit out of my comfort zone because it contained more than five ingredients.  It also reminded me that baking soda is actually used in cooking instead of only for being left in the back of my fridge for several months as a deodorizer.  ("Replace after three months"? I think David Tennant was still The Doctor when I put mine in there).

Tablespoon added for scale.  

These cookies are nice and soft right out of the oven and they remained that way for two days.  I don't know what the texture is like after that because they were all eaten within 48 hours of baking.  I took two shortcuts when making them.  First, I toasted the almonds in a hot pan for a few minutes instead of roasting them in the oven.  Second, I used white chocolate chips instead of baking chocolate that I would have needed to chop. I don't bake cookies often enough to know whether this recipe takes a long time or not compared to other recipes.  I didn't think it took terribly long.  It went much faster when my husband helped me out with the second batch.  

If you don't have cookie cooling racks, it's no big deal.  A cool granite countertop works just as well.  I cooled half my batch on a piece of parchment on the counter and the other half on a rack and they were indistinguishable.

Big White Chocolate, Almond, and Cranberry Cookies
From Food and Wine
Makes about 24-28 Cookies

1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
14 oz white chocolate chips (~2 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups dried cranberries
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Heat a small pan over high heat.  Toss in the almonds and stir occasionally until they smell toasted, about 3 minutes.

2) In a large bowl, mix all three flours with the baking soda and salt.  Then mix in the white chocolate chips, cranberries, and almonds.

3) Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the whole eggs, yolks, and vanilla.  Mix until everything is well incorporated, about 2 minutes.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed until everything is all mixed in.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4) Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.  Scoop 1/4 cup sized balls of dough onto the sheets at least 2 inches apart.  Then lightly press down with your palm to spread the dough.

5) Bake in upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 18 minutes, until they're golden around the edges but squishy in the center.  At the halfway mark (9 minutes), rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back.

6) Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

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