Wednesday, August 18, 2010

White Chocolate Chunk Almond Cookies

We've made a lot of cookies, and these are some of the best. We mistakenly left out the white sugar, and made the cookies with just brown sugar. This worked even better because the chunks of super sweet and milky white chocolate chunks provided greater flavor contrast to the nuttier, less sweet (but still decently sweet) nutty buttery cookie. If you like white chocolate or almonds, or butter, you have to try these! Use good butter - Clover organic is the one we used, and we think it really made a difference by producing a richer, fuller butter flavor.

White Chocolate Chunk Almond Cookies (adapted from "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009)

1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted fresh organic butter

½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar (we forgot to add this and it was still delicious)

¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon table salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1¼ cups white chocolate chunks

¾ cup chopped almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

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