The beginning of each new year here starts off in the worst way for those whose resolutions were to eat healthier and lose weight: the arrival of Girl Scout Cookie season. Me personally, I embrace it with a little too much gusto.
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It’s really an evil plot, if you think about it. Parents get their cute little girls to peddle delicious cookies all to help raise funds for an extremely worthy cause. You must have one heck of a cold and hardened soul to be able to resist and not purchase any. I always buy lots because too many of my friends have cute kids and there’s no way I can resist, and it’s a worthy cause!! At least, that’s the excuse I use.
The end result is a whole lot of cookies sitting in my pantry. I tell myself that we will be able to make them last forever! About a month later, the shelves are looking mighty thin. This is a serious problem because now it means I have to buy more or make more myself. I generally don’t buy other cookies because that would be admitting defeat. I don’t understand my own reasoning, either, but I just go with it. I figure if I have to work to make the cookies then I have done something to earn the reward of enjoying them with my weekend morning coffee, afternoon frappe or Greek coffee (depending on the season), and my evening tea. I think I now know why the cookies disappear so quickly.
One of my all-time favorite flavor combinations in a cookie is macadamia nuts and white chocolate. If the Girl Scouts ever made these, I’d be in some serious trouble. Macadamia nuts have a rich, almost buttery flavor that is rather mild in comparison to nuts like walnuts or pecans. That’s why they pair so well with white chocolate, rather than typical chocolate chips. White chocolate is also mild in flavor, but has a nice creamy hint of vanilla. Together they are *almost* perfect. Adding some bright citrusy notes in the form of orange extract helps to enhance the flavor of both the macadamias as well as the white chocolate, but without overwhelming them. Throw it all in to a slightly sweet and buttery cookie and oooooohhhhh mmmmyyyyyy. Yeah, it’s good.
Some quick notes before you begin:
Be sure to really beat the crud out of your butter, it makes so much difference in the overall texture of the cookies, allowing them to be light on the inside and crunchy on the edges.
Make sure your brown sugar is packed in the measuring cup to get the proper amount. Not enough of it will result in dryer and less sweet cookies.
Speaking of sweet, white chocolate chips are often far more sweet than regular semi-sweet chocolate chips used for cookies. I put in a range for the amount of chips to add to suit your preference. I usually go for the lower amount, but if you like a sweeter cookie, use the higher quantity.
Speaking of those white chocolate chips, most white chocolate chips aren’t chocolate at all, but sweetened and flavored palm kernel oil or other similar fat. They are convenient (and this is what I used in the batch pictured) but my real favorite is made with true white chocolate with cocoa butter. It’s harder to find in chip form, but you could chop up bars meant for baking, instead. A little more work, but the flavor is perfect. It’s also less sweet and more environmentally responsible.
This dough freezes really well. I usually only bake a small batch to enjoy immediately, then put the rest into a tub and store in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, give time for the dough to soften before trying to scoop. Also, the cookies may need a little more time to bake if the dough is cold.
Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
- 2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 tsp. orange extract
- 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups white chocolate chips, or chopped white chocolate baking bar
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Put flour and baking soda together in a bowl. Measure the flour by fluffing it with a whisk and gently scooping into the measuring cup.
Beat butter very well until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat well again. Add eggs and orange extract and beat until sugar is nearly dissolved.
Add flour to the butter mixture and gently combine. You don’t want to overmix or you will have tough cookies. Add the chopped nuts and chips and mix till uniformly distributed in the dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop dough by the spoonful. These will spread, so be sure to leave room. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Longer baking times will allow for a crispier cookie, and shorter will be softer so you can adjust to your preference.
Allow cookies to cool for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. You are allowed to eat them whenever you can do so without burning your mouth. Enjoy!!