Did you know that the first cookies were created by accident? Dutch cooks used to use a small amount of cake batter to test the temperature of the over before baking a large cake. These little test cakes were called "koekje", which means "little cake" in Dutch.
The most popular American cookie, the chocolate chip cookie, was also created unintentionally. In the 1930’s, Ruth Wakefield, a Massachusetts innkeeper, was in the process of making cookies when she ran out of nuts. She substituted a bar of baking chocolate, breaking it into pieces and added the chunks of chocolate to the buttery cookie dough. The Toll House cookie, named after the inn where it was created, was an immediate hit.
I wish that I could tell you that I invented these cookies "by accident." It would be a much more interesting story. The truth is, I had every intention of these cookies turning out exactly as they did, so I’m afraid that I won’t be written about by historians along with Ms. Wakefield. I love to take the basic base of the traditional chocolate chip cookie (the dough minus the chocolate and nuts) and then mix and match different ingredients to come up with new cookies. The possibilities are endless, and each variation truly seems like a brand new cookie altogether. Worried that you are bringing the same old chocolate chip cookies to the bake sale as everyone else? Just switch the chocolate chips for toffee bits and the walnuts for pecans and voila!, you have a brand new creation. This combination uses three flavors that go extremely well together: white chocolate, cranberry, and macadamia nut. The flavors of the smooth rich white chocolate, the tart cranberries, and the salty macadamia nuts mixed with the buttery cookie base are sure to hit each and every one of your tastebuds! I only have a few tips to add for making these craveable cookies:
- The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or they can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.
- For smaller cookies, drop by level tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets. For colossal cookies, use an ice cream scoop to portion out the dough. Flatten the mounds slightly with the palm of your hand prior to baking. Baking time will need to be adjusted for the different sizes, but keep the temperature at 350.
- You can substitute dried cherries or golden raisins for the cranberries, or you can do a combination. 1 1/2 cups is equivalent to a 6 oz. bag. Instead of chopping up a chunk of white chocolate, you can use 1 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips. Adding a cup of shredded coconut would also work well with this recipe.
Cranberry, White Chocolate, Macadamia Nut Cookies
Makes about 45
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate
1 cup coarsely chopped, roasted, and salted macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until it is fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add both of the sugars, and beat until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Beat in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Stir in the dried cranberries, chopped white chocolate, and macadamia nuts until well incorporated.
Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until just golden, 12-14 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets.