Tuesday, March 15, 2011

White Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies

Here I am on Tuesday. Late, again. We've had a cold rolling through our house this last week. I thought I had dodged it but alas, yesterday I woke up with a sore throat, stuffy nose and yadda yadda yadda, I felt awful. Still do. Top that off with a rotten day at work, (not going into it, putting it behind me, wrapping myself in the warm cocoon of my blog.) and I just wasn't feeling up to blogging. But here I am. Chock full of cold medicine and in my comfy clothes. I'm ready to go so let's get cookin'. . . oh and if I start to ramble on, it's the Dayquil.

This recipe is a variation on my trusty Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Now I'm not even sure that I'm that good of a cook. I think I am, my friends and family say I am, but maybe they're just being nice. Who knows? What I do know is that this recipe makes AWESOME chocolate chip cookies. I know this because I have been making them this way since high school. When I was in college, two different college boys, on different occasions declared them to be better than their own mother's cookies. So, as far as I'm concerned that's a winning endorsement. This time out I'm going to use white chocolate chips and dried cherries. You can use whatever you like, chocolate chips, nuts of any kind, butterscotch chips, etc.; put your own stamp on it. The secret is using really really good vanilla. If you can find vanilla paste, great! If not just make sure you use a good quality vanilla and follow the steps. You won't be disappointed.

Here's what you'll need: AP Flour, rolled oats (regular or quick, doesn't matter), baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, brown sugar, REALLY GOOD vanilla, an egg, white chocolate chips and dried cherries. (FYI, I wasn't too happy with this brand of white chocolate chips, they didn't ruin the cookies but I've had better,  probably won't use them again.)

First, before you measure, finely chop the cherries. This will give you little flecks of cherry throughout the cookie instead of big chewy tart chunks which can be overwhelming. If you prefer the chewy chunks, by all means, skip this step.

Next, before measuring the oats, grind them up to the texture of flour. I use my well cleaned coffee grinder but a food processor will work. 

You just want to create an "oat flour" so grind it pretty finely, you may have to do this in a couple of batches if you are using a coffee grinder. This step gives the cookies great texture.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, ground up oats, baking soda and salt. 
Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. This can take up to 5 minutes! Put in the time, it's worth it.

At 2 minutes, this is NOT light and fluffy.

This IS light and fluffy. Took just over 5 minutes and you may have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.

Add the egg and REALLY GOOD vanilla and beat until well mixed.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients with the mixer on low, scraping down the sides and mixing just long enough to get it all incorporated. Don't over mix!

Mix in the chopped cherries and white chocolate chips.

Finish by hand to get the cherries and white chocolate chips well mixed in.

Scoop up 1 tablespoon balls of dough and lay them out on a lined cookie sheet. 
I use a cookie scoop. Pop them into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. This is a good time to get your oven preheating to 375°F.

Lay the dough balls out about 2 inches apart on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Seriously, if you bake cookies often you really should get a Silpat mat! Off to the oven they go, for 10 to 15 minutes just until the edges start to brown. 

These took 13 minutes. YUM!

Here is a little trick. If you don't want to bake up 3 dozen cookies all at once. Leave the dough balls in the freezer for about 1 hour until they are frozen solid. Then transfer them to a zipper bag, squish out all the air, and store them back in the freezer. For fresh hot cookies "on demand", just heat up your oven (375°F), and bake 'em off (10-15 min.). Easy!

White Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies

2 C. flour
1/2 C. ground rolled oats
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 C. (2 sticks) butter
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 C. white chocolate chips*
1 C. chopped dried cherries*

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Stir together flour, ground oats, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Mix until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.  Slowly stir in dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add white chocolate chips and cherries and mix well, finishing by hand. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a lined cookie sheet. Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. 
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

* You can substitute anything you like, chocolate chips, nuts, etc. Just make sure it totals 2 cups of ingredients.

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