Up High on a Hill: White chocolate cashew cookies

May 26, 2010 § Leave a comment


Right as I only have six days left at home, I am finally getting back into embracing this city. It started standing on top of my hill this morning on the way back from Cortland Avenue. From there, you can see the entire city, the downtown skyscrapers, the Bay, the bridges and you look out across the sky and find yourself eye to eye with the Twin Peaks Towers. It was a surprisingly clear day, not foggy at all, in sharp contrast to yesterday’s downpour, and I marveled at how quickly this city turns around. Not quite like New York City with the hustle and bustle of people in a mad dash (or frantic scramble) to get their lives together, but full of floaty changes like a quick switch in direction of winds in the outer ocean. Then I started out on a run, crossing Mission Street, with its liquor stores and the Indian pizza parlor I’ve been dying to try, building up the tempo down Church through Noe Valley before hitting the hills by Dolores Park. I ran down Market towards Twin Peaks, passing a street closed down and now brimming with stands of fresh produce, the Baghdad Café where we used to eat jam filled donuts late at night, and Hot Cookie, where you can order a chocolate covered macaroon in the shape of a penis, or a vagina, whatever suits your preference.

Most of my love for this city can be summed up by my running and my eating. The paths I run by day are the paths I eat by night. Whether it’s a slice of tiramisu at the Italian place on the corner of Dolores and 30th with an old friend and a long chat with the owner, a delightful old man with a sweet Italian accent whose business has seen hard times, or a breath of fresh air by the ocean at the base of the Cliffhouse hill, I live and inhale this city every time I come back. In my break from running, I had almost forgotten that. I’m so happy it is not too late to change that. Next up, a taste of garlic ice cream and a class on mixing spices because nothing is more San Franciscan than pushing the edge of your taste buds. And then there’s a return to the old favorites, the crab cake sandwiches at the Ferry Building farmers’ market and picnics in the park with old friends.

And then there’s the combination of three deliciously sweet and rich ingredients to make these cookies that I just have to tell you about. Browned butter, buttery cashews and innocently sweet white chocolate all melted into one golden cookie. Now that tastes like home.

I found these cookies on For the Love of Cooking, who in turn got them from The Crepes of Wrath. Instead of just melting the butter, I browned it, which gives it a wonderful nutty aroma and really deepens the taste. For a full tutorial of how to brown butter, see here. I made half the batch with cashews, because they may well be my favorite kind of nut, and half with macadamia nuts, as is more standard. For probably the first time in my life, I measured out the nuts and chocolate chips as per the recipe, but I think I’m going to go back to just eyeballing it because these cookies were so packed with add-ins that it was hard to form them into balls. They were also so packed that I had to flatten the spoonfuls before putting them in the oven in order for the cookies to spread. That said, I don’t hear anyone complaining.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
For the Love of Cooking, The Crepes of Wrath

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (chopped, if needed) macadamia nuts
2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl then set aside. Beat together the melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, egg, egg yolk and vanilla with a mixer until creamy.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture until just mixed. Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips by hand. Drop by the spoonful onto a greased or lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges look golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 4-5 minutes (so cookies can set) before moving to a rack.

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