Monday, June 19, 2006

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

I think that I've mentioned before that I am not a big fan of nuts in cookies or cakes. While I like the flavor of nuts, I just don't like big chunks of them. As a result, if I use them, I'll generally chop them up into small pieces. Exceptions to this rule are when I am making a batch of something for other people to eat and pecans, which I quite like in cookies.
Another nut that I am fond of is the macadamia nut, which has an unusually smooth and buttery flavor. I particularly enjoy it when it is paired with white chocolate, as the chocolate contributes a sweetness that is noticeably lacking in the nut. This is the point where the size of the nut becomes an issue: I like white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, but would rather not have the huge nuts taking over the texture with their bulk.
Luckily for me, this recipe not only made the most delicious white chocolate macadamia cookies I've had in a long time, but there was not a single nut to be seen. And it was an accident.
I was trying out Dreena's recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies, since they looked so wonderful in the picture. I opened my cupboard to discover that I had no vegetable/canola oil. I was forced to choose between olive and macadamia nut and, not wanting an olive oil chocolate chip cookie, went for the mac nut option. When I noticed that the batter smelled distinctly of macadamia nuts, I decided to mix in white chocolate chips instead of plain.
They turned out great! The cookies were crispy on the edges and slightly chewy in the center. They tasted like mac nuts and the white chocolate wonderfully accented the overall cookie. Though there was maple syrup in the batter, there was no maple flavor to the final cookie. The recipe makes only a few, so they disappear in a flash, but store them in an airtight container if necessary.
While I wish I could say that these were still vegan, in the spirit of Dreena's original recipe, the white chocolate has milk solids in it. I did eventually make the original recipe with plain vegetable oil (canola) and chocolate chips and they were wonderful, too.

If you can't find macadamia nut oil at your usual grocery store, try a natural foods or specialty store (like Whole Foods). Otherwise, make the regular chocolate chip version and keep and eye out for it!

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
(adapted from Dreena's recipe)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a small bowl, whisk together macadamia nut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture and stir until almost combined. Add the white chocolate chips and mix until no flour remains.
Shape into ten rounded balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.
Cool on baking sheet.

Makes 10 large cookies.