Remember Mrs. Field’s? I know she is still around, I just passed one of her dated looking store-fronts in a mall the other day. But does anyone still eat those cookies?
The first time I had one (and the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc.), I thought it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. My mom is a good baker and we often had cookies in our house, but her cookies didn’t taste like Mrs. Field’s. Maybe because Mrs. Field’s cookies are usually warm? Maybe because of a high chocolate to cookie ratio? Maybe because there was a “no nut” option for this no-nut-lover? Maybe because there are things in those cookies that I don’t want to know about? I think the real reason is because they are so incredibly sweet. When you are a kid, sweet = good. Now that my palate is a little more sophisticated, I like a better balance of flavor. Even in my cookies.
I have to give the woman credit for introducing us all to the white chocolate and macadamia nut combination. I’m sure someone made it before her, but my 10-year old self had never tried it. Yes, I have gone on and on about how I don’t like nuts in my baked goods, but super salty macadamia nuts are another story. Especially when combined with white chocolate which is so sweet.
I made these cookies as a potential peace offering to my husband. I don’t usually push things he doesn’t like on him but I was dying to try that Golden Split Pea Soup. So, I made a big salad, bought one of his favorite breads, and baked with white chocolate which, if you ask him, is the only chocolate he likes. (Randy lives in a bit of a dream world where he thinks he doesn’t like chocolate but inhales anything chocolate that is put in front of him. And while I am “taking the piss out of him” as he is fond of saying, I must tell you that he also inhaled this pasta salad and asked me what made it so good. BEETS! One of his most hated things!)
Anyway, fortunately the soup was a hit and so were the cookies. My boys liked them too. A cookbook note. If you are a cookie baker and are looking for a good and comprehensive book, I have to recommend Nancy Baggett’s The All-American Cookie Book. I always turn to this book when I need inspiration and it never disappoints. Great photographs and well-researched and charming recipes. Everything is clear, right down to the table of contents – something I can’t say about many of my baking books.
One Year Ago: Garlic Ciabatta Bread and Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad
White Chocolate – Macadamia Nut Cookies
The All-American Cookie Book
Makes 25-30 cookies
Baggett suggests you wipe off the nuts if they are salted. Because I love to taste salt in my baked goods, I opted not to take that step. They were not overly salty. She also recommends greasing the baking sheets or lining them with parchment – neither of which I did. The cookies came off just fine.
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/3 cups all-purpose white flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1½ tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
8 ounces top-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1 1/3 cups top-quality white chocolate morsels
1 1/3 cups (about 6 ounces) coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
In a food processor, process the oats in on/off pulses until ground to a powder. In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the ground oats, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until lightened, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat until very fluffy and smooth. Add the egg, milk, vanilla and almond extracts and beat until incorporated. Beat or stir in the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts until evenly incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop or spoons, drop the dough onto the baking sheets in generous golf-ball-sized mounds, spacing about 3 inches apart. Pat the mounds down slightly.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 12 to 17 minutes, or until the tops are pale golden and the edges are just lightly browned; be very careful not to overbake. Reverse the sheet half way through to ensure even browning. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks. Let stand until completely cooled.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.