I have been meaning to write about these forever. They are one of my favourite cookies. I say one, because anyone who tells you that they only have one favourite cookie is simply not being realistic. One? Please.
Everybody and their dog seems to like chocolate chip cookies, and while I would never turn one of them down (well, would you? Didn't think so.), I don't think chocolate is really where it's at when it comes to biscuits and cakes. It's nice. Don't get me wrong. But it's not the best thing in the world. I'm not trying to style myself as one of those über trendy-types, who fashionably claim not to like chocolate unless it's dark and has at least 70% cocoa solids when I say that. (And for the record, fashionistas, you aren't fooling anyone.) I just think that chocolate is best when it's a piece of chocolate. Turning it into, cookies, or cakes, or even ice-cream, seems unnecessary. It doesn't improve it. *
Not everybody shares my view though. So I have dutifully added some white chocolate to today's recipe to try and please the chocoholics, who would otherwise feel that they were missing out. But, really, the star players here are my favourites... The nuts! And so, without further ado...You could add even more...
Friends, Romans, Countrymen...
These are my Almond and Macadamia Nut cookies. And you should make some.
I think the greatest thing about them is the texture. Soft, and chewy, with chunks of almond and whole macadamia nuts, they make a seriously satisfying pick-me-up with a cup of tea at around four o'clock. Not that that's how I eat them. Usually, when I've made cookies, they go from jar to mouth, before the tea has even brewed. Unless we've company. Then they go on a nice plate.
I know macadamias are the most expensive nuts (although the price of pecans also has to be seen to be believed - who buys them? Do they remortgage beforehand?), but they are also the most delicious; I love the waxy crunch. I think you'd miss them if you left them out, but you could play with this however you like otherwise. Substitute walnuts for the almonds; use peanuts instead, or, and I can't believe I didn't think of this before, crumble in a Mr. Tom bar (my love for Mr. Tom has been detailed elsewhere - Mr. Other P and I will drive to get one if we have to).
It's a strange feeling to wax lyrical about a recipe you made up yourself, but these really are sensational. And they make a great gift, as once baked, they'll keep in a jar for a whole week. The nuts help to keep everything nice and moist.
The unbaked dough is more than perfectly edible as it is!
- I flavoured them with maple extract, because I have some from a trip to America; vanilla would be fine, cinnamon would be insanely good.
- Bake them for longer if you prefer crisp biscuits. 15 minutes should do it. I like them under-baked, so stop at 9-10.
- Using dark and light brown sugar gives a nice flavour, but at the end of the day, sugar is sugar. Use what you have!
- I wouldn't mind if you added 75g dessicated coconut.
* The one exception to this that I know of is double chocolate chip cookies, which have dark, bitter cocoa mixed into the chocolate chip-studded cookie dough; I accept that in that case, culinary nirvana is more than achieved.
Almond and Macadamia Nut Cookies
You will need:
150g soft light brown sugar
25g soft dark brown sugar
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp maple extract
100g raw macadamia nuts
100g raw almonds
150g chocolate chips, white for preference (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Chop the almonds, but leave the macadamias whole. Toast the nuts in a hot frying pan until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy. Add the extract and eggs. Mix well.
- Sift together flour and baking powder. Add the salt and sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and combine thoroughly. Fold in the cooled nuts and chocolate chips.
- Using an ice-cream scoop (as always), drop small mounds of the mixture on the baking sheet. Leave plenty of space for the cookies to spread.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown at the edges. Cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
- When cool, keep in a biscuit barrel, tin or jar.