Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spring is in the air + Half and Half Cookies (white chocolate macadamia nut and chocolate chunk cookies)

I think we have all been...those times where we are a bit over tired from a few days with long hours of work with the same people.  The times where you start to almost giggle over silly things.  Well these cookies are a product of those times.  A product of their constantly being cookies at meetings as the dessert option and always wanting to be able to try a few different ones...but cookies a meetings tend to be the size of your hand.  Thus eating a few different ones is not really advisable.  So instead it popped into my mind to make a cookie that was really two different kinds of cookies in one.  For the first try on these I went with half chocolate chunk and half white chocolate macadamia nut.  They were sooo good!  Definitely a cookies combination that I prefer to just be baked so they are still super soft in the middle.  I can't wait until the next combination but I already have a couple in mind.  Enjoy!

So its officially spring and I just had to share a few pictures of the cherry blossoms at sunrise I took a couple of weeks ago.

The shear number of people who came to DC this year to see these was amazing.  The ones around the Tidal Basin were here for about a week and then gone, but they sure were pretty for the short time they were around.

Cookie time:

Two cookies doughs prepared.  For these cookies they do need to go in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Then you place one dough ball of each type of dough together pressing them a little flatter and making them round around the outside.

Side view...round but flatter on top.

And then baked you end up with perfect cookies that are actually two types of cookies in one!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
3/8 cup light brown sugar
3/8 cup white sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with sugars until creamed and fluffy.  Mix in vanilla and eggs until well combined.

2. In a separate bowl mix together baking soda with the salt and flour.

3. Then add the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture just until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. 

Time for the other dough...

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies(recipe adapted from Kitchen Treaty)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer affixed with paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes (or use a large bowl and a hand mixer).

2.  Add the brown sugar and granulated (white) sugar and continue beating on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

3.  Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat each time until well-incorporated. Mix in the vanilla.

4.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

5.  With the mixer on low speed, carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate chips and the macadamia nuts.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  While the doughs are chilling preheat the
 oven to 350 degrees F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6.  Once the doughs have chilled, take a tablespoon of each type of dough and form a ball of each.  Then flatten each ball on one side and press each half sphere into one another.  Next slightly flatten the dough ball on the side where you see each kind of dough or the "seam" side.  Then form the outside (non-flattened side) back into a circle (see photo above).  Place on a cookie sheet 1 1/2 inches apart.  Continue until your cookies sheet is full with half and half cookies.  Bake them for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown and mostly set in the middle.  Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes and then move to cooling rack.  Continue this process until all of the cookies have been made.  Serve and Enjoy!

*Best stored in an airtight plastic container.

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