Friday, July 09, 2010

My new favorite cookie

White Chocolate Dried Cherry (Craisin) Cookies
The Ugly Binder, from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

1 cup unsalted butter(room temperature) I used salted butter
3/4 cup caramelized sugar*
3/4 cup powdered sugar(icing sugar)
2 eggs(room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces good White Chocolate, chopped into small pieces I used Ghiardelli Sublime White Vanilla Dream - 1 1/2 bars
8 ounces dried Cherries(the more tart the better) I used craisins

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Grease your cookie pans with butter(to make a more golden brown bottom). I baked them on parchment paper. In a mixer, cream the butter for 3 minutes. Add both types of sugar and mix (on high) for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add eggs on at a time, mixing 1 minute each. Scrape down the bowl again. Add vanilla and mix for one more minute on medium high.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. With the mixer on slow speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter. Do not over mix. Take the bowl off the mixer and by hand mix in the white chocolate and cherries.

Using small ice cream or cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. They will not look done. Take them out anyway, they will continue to cook on the pan. Leave them on the pan for 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Then transfer to a cooling rack.

*To make caramelized sugar for this recipe. Take a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. With the oven preheated to 375 F sprinkle 1 cup granulated sugar onto the middle of the pan. Bake for only about 5 minutes (you need to watch it the whole time because once it starts to caramelized it can quickly burn). (It took much longer than 5 minutes for my sugar to caramelize.) Take out of oven and it cool completely. Once cooled, lift the blob of caramelized sugar and put into blender. Blend until the sugar is back to being super fine. Measure out 3/4 cup for the recipe.

This recipe intrigued me, due to the use of the caramelized sugar. While it wasn't hard to make the sugar, it did take a while (probably 10-15 minutes per batch for cooking, then an hour or more of cooling) and required a lot of attention. I don't know why you couldn't do it on the stove-top if you preferred. It wouldn't take less time or attention but you would have a bit more control I think. You must let the caramelized sugar cool completely before grinding it so you won't be able to whip these cookies up on the fly if you haven't already prepared the caramelized sugar but otherwise, it's not a complicated recipe.

I made two batches of these and for one batch, I hadn't ground the sugar as finely and I didn't cream the butter and sugar together as long as I should have so they there were larger bits of the caramalized sugar in them. The batch with the more finely ground sugar is shown here. They had a smoother, more uniform texture. I'm actually not sure which I liked more. They were both pretty great.

Due to the cost of dried cherries, and my current surplus of craisins, I opted to use the craisins and I was pleased. Not having tried the recipe with the dried cherries, I can't say for sure whether or not that made a big difference. Also, I could not find plain white chocolate anywhere. I am not a fan of the white chocolate chips sold in grocery stores at all so they were not an option. I finally found this vanilla bean-infused Ghiardelli white chocolate and that might be what made these so great - just so you know. The quality of the white chocolate will make a big difference here. I didn't use 12 ounces, just 1 1/2 bars and each bar is only 3.5 ounces.

I made these for my future sister-in-laws bridal shower (a non-traditional co-ed party). Afterwards one sister commented that my other sister thought these were the best cookies ever but I didn't hear it first hand. I can tell you that I thought they were fantastic. There was something about them but I'm just not sure if it was the caramelized sugar or the vanilla-infused white chocolate that made them so good.

I froze some of this dough and I can't wait to bake more of these but they are DANGEROUS!

1 comment:

Peabody said...

I'm sure craisins worked just as good as the cherries.