Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies are the ultimate mid-winter comfort cookie
This medley of ingredients creates a bomb of flavor in every bite – the tart cherries are balanced by the sweet creaminess of the white chocolate chips, and the walnuts almost melt into the dough as the cookies bake, giving them a lovely, gentle crunch.
FARGO — Mid-February is the perfect time to nestle in with a good book, a glass of milk and what I like to call comfort cookies. While chocolate chip may be the ultimate in cookie comfort, these Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies run a close second. In fact, they are the only cookie my teenage son is craving these days, and with good reason.
Loaded with a generous amount of plump, dried cherries and creamy white chocolate chips, these cookies get an additional boost of flavor and texture from a half-cup of chopped walnuts. Walnuts bring a richness to these cookies, with their buttery quality and tender crunch. Plus, they are one of the easiest nuts to chop which makes them a favorite in my book.
This medley of ingredients creates a bomb of flavor in every bite – the tart cherries are balanced by the sweet creaminess of the white chocolate chips, and the walnuts almost melt into the dough as the cookies bake, giving them a lovely, gentle crunch. If you prefer a nut-free cookie, I recommend adding an additional quarter cup each of the cherries and white chocolate chips.
The rest of the ingredients are what I call “the usual suspects” in baking staples: flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, an egg and vanilla extract. For this recipe, I use equal parts white and brown sugar. White sugar alone would make these cookies crunchy throughout, but the addition of brown sugar – either light or dark - enhances the flavor and keeps the inside of the cookie nice and chewy.
A rule of thumb in baking is to have your ingredients at room temperature before you begin, particularly butter and eggs. For butter, you should be able to press your finger into the stick and easily leave an impression but stop about halfway through. To soften the butter, set it out on the counter for 30 minutes, or warm it in the microwave on half-power in 5 second intervals.
Eggs also take about 30 minutes to come to room temperature, but I have an easy hack to speed up the process. Simply fill a glass or bowl with enough warm water to submerge the egg, and let it sit for 5 minutes – just enough time to get all the other ingredients measured, chopped and ready to go.
I like to roll the dough into balls for these cookies rather than scooping or dropping them onto the baking sheet. I find that this gives them a smoother surface and more crinkles on the top, whereas scooped or dropped cookies tend to be craggier in appearance. However, you are welcome to skip this step and your cookies will still taste great.
These Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy to make, which is the first stage of comfort in this baking process. The next is the wonderful aroma that will fill your kitchen as they bake, and the final stage is discovering that they taste even better than they smell. Enjoy.
Cherry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: approximately 30 to 34 cookies
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated white sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
1 large egg, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
½ cup walnuts, chopped
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the sugars and cream on medium-high speed until pale and fully incorporated, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the egg and the extracts and beat on medium high until well combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom again; add the flour and stir on the lowest setting just until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Do not overmix the dough.
Add the white chocolate chips, cherries and walnuts and stir again on the lowest speed until combined. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough hydrate for 15 -20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. If baking two sheets at a time, position racks in the top and lower third of the oven.
Roll the dough into balls, sizing as desired (my standard size is about 1 ½ inches for a 2 to 2 ½ inch cookie). Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. You can also use a scoop or two spoons to drop the cookies onto the baking sheet (they will be craggier in appearance but still taste great).
*If baking one sheet at a time, you can roll out the second tray of cookies and cover them with a towel until ready to bake.
Bake until lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. If baking two sheets at a time, rotate them from top to bottom and left to right after 7 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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