today’s taste: chocolate macadamia nut cookies
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: it has been a long time since our last post. A really long time. We could offer the usual excuses – work, grad school applications, and things like that – but I’m fairly certain I know the real reason. When we last posted the eggnog layer cake recipe, I made a New Year’s resolution to bake and blog more – and therein lies the problem. New Year’s resolutions aren’t promises – they’re curses! In my experience, attaching the New Year’s resolution label to a goal is the quickest way to make sure I don’t even come close to achieving it.
Eight months into keeping your resolutions and don’t buy our justifications? We don’t blame you. We just have two requests: 1) teach us your disciplined ways; and 2) read on, because our lapse in posting doesn’t mean a lapse in baking. We have spent plenty of 2016 hours in the kitchen, and our recipes will prove it!
Let’s pick up where we left off; it might be a departure from the summery, fruity recipes on your to-do list, but we think the time is always right for some rich chocolate. Moreover, this recipe was inspired by a warm, sunny vacation! Back in December, I (Morgan here!) took a family trip to Guanacaste, Costa Rica. It was my first time there, and it will certainly not be my last. Readers, if you’ve been there, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, you should make plans immediately. The beaches, the forests, the wildlife (I saw a mama and baby sloth – does it get any cuter?), the people, the lifestyle… but I digress.
One day of the trip, my family made a very out-of-character decision to do a day-long, guided bus excursion inland. The key activities on the tour – boating, ziplining down a volcano, and swimming in hot springs – were relaxing and thrilling in turn. But the truly unexpected highlight for me (and my mother, who deserves all credit for my baking genes and successes alike and none for my failures) was the stop at a small cafe called Cafe Macadamia (appropriate name for reasons soon to be explained) atop a mountain somewhere between Tamarindo and Arenal. There we found the most delicious chocolate cookies we had ever purchased from a bakery. (Our sample size of bakeries isn’t small, either.) The cookies were big and thick, with varied texture: moist and chewy in the center, crispy around the edges, and studded throughout with whole macadamia nuts. The cafe had an open kitchen, too – not a trendy, stagey open kitchen, but the authentic kind of open kitchen that comes from not building walls to hide bakers from customers and spectacular views from bakers. So until the tour guide rallied the troops, we watched the bakers scoop cookie dough, meticulously place macadamia nuts, and slide loaded trays into huge ovens.
Right on schedule, though, the pit stop ended, the day trip ended, and the vacation ended, and we found ourselves back home craving these chocolate macadamia nut cookies. So began the development of this recipe. Thanks to America’s Test Kitchen, we already had a good start on the cookie base; the combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate plus a healthy dose of instant coffee ensured a deep and smooth chocolate flavor. The texture contrast – and pleasant saltiness – came from the roasted macadamia nuts; although the cafe had preferred whole nuts, we decided to halve ours to ensure each bite contained the right balance of cookie and mix-in. Finally, we rounded out the flavors with sweet, milky white chocolate chips. The result? An easy, rich, and ultimately crave-able cookie. Pura vida!
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups white chocolate chips
- 1 cup roasted macadamia nuts, cut in half
- Melt unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chips, and butter in heatproof bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, stirring frequently, until completely smooth and glossy. Remove bowl from pan and set aside to cool slightly.
- Stir coffee powder and vanilla extract together in small bowl until dissolved.
- Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Add vanilla and coffee mixture and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to low, add chocolate mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Using large rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into batter. Fold macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips into batter.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes until batter firms up.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 1 heaping tablespoon batter per cookie, place cookies 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets (see photo, right). Bake until cookies are shiny and cracked on top, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back halfway through baking time. Transfer baking sheets to racks and cool cookies completely before serving.