Cakes, cookies and other sweet treats

White chocolate, pistachio and dried cranberry brown butter cookies

Major cookie cravings hit this weekend. I think my body knows it’s about to face a long few weeks and is comfort eating in advance. Smart body. But I have a confession to make. There are certain things I just can’t cook and cookies be one of them. Where do I even begin! I over bake them and they’re brittle but golden, under bake them and I’m left with pasty pale cookie fakes. As hard as I try they just never live up to my huge expectations. Maybe I put too much pressure on them. Maybe I’m asking too much of them to meet my high cookie standards.

But this weekend the cookie cravings hit overdrive and there was no way out. So I threw caution to the wind and went all in. And I mean all in. Have you seen the title to this post?? And yet, voila – I ended up with the most gorgeous white chocolate, pistachio and dried cranberry cookies with added brown butter. Oh. My. I’m starting to think this recipe is fool proof, so read on for one of the best cookies you’ll ever eat.

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These started out as plain old white chocolate and dried cranberry cookies. Then I though “hey why not through in some finely chopped pistachios for a bit of bite and gorgeous green flecks too.” Then while I was at it I thought “hey why not add another layer of nuttiness and brown some of the butter.” And THEN I thought “hey, why not make it into a cookie sausage and freeze that bad boy for instant cookie gratification when ever I want!!!!”

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Sugar and butter get beaten till light and fluffy and then it’s time for the nutty browned butter, vanilla extract and soft brown sugar which brings and extra depth to our cookies.

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The browned butter gives us a runny mixture into which we throw our egg and extra yolk. Β A slightly wetter mixture means we can add more cranberries, chocolate and nuts without drying out our dough. No jokes or giggling at what those two yolks looks like.ahem.

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Once everything has been beaten together and our flour fully incorporated it’s time for the show stoppers. Put down that spoon and resist the urge to dig in straight away! A few folds later and we’re almost there.

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Once we’ve mixed and folded our goodies in, it’s time to sausagefy our dough!! Sausagefying the dough (yes I’m really rolling with this new word) is harder then it looks but oh so satisfying. Our dough is forgiving so even if it takes you a few attempts to roll/smoosh your dough into shape it’ll hold up just fine.

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We let the cookie sausage chill in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours so it’s hard enough to slice into totally imperfect cookies. Just one look at those slices and you know we’re in business.

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Nobody will care if your cookies aren’t round. Just look at them! These cookies look almost jewel encrusted with their vibrant cranberries and pale speckles of pistachio. A touch of sea salt on top makes these cookies even more addictive and hits that sweet/salty balance.

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Adapted from the Joy The Baker Cookbook, makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks of unsalted butter (250 grams), 1 stick of butter browned (see note below) and 1 stick of butter at room temperature

1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar

1 cup (200 grams) golden caster sugar or granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups (286 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4-1 teaspoon salt depending on how much salt you like in your sweet things

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (120 grams) white chocolate chips

1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries

1/4 cup (30 grams) pistachio nuts, chopped (chop the pistachios after you’ve measured them)

1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling, optional

Note:Β To make browned butter place the butter in a sauce pan/skillet. A light colored pan works best for this so you can see the changing color of the butter. Melt the butter over a medium heat until it starts to bubble and foam. Resist the urge to stir the butter and instead swirl the pan every now and again. Keep an eye on the butter as it melts as it will become brown and fragrant and start to smell nutty. Milk solids will appear at the bottom of the pan – keep an eye on them till they are a toasted brown color. Immediately take off the heat and pour into a bowl to cool. Make sure you scrape all the milk solid pieces in too.

Steps

1. Make room in your freezer for a big ol’ sausage of cookie dough!

2. Cream together the room temperature stick of butter with the cup of golden caster sugar till pale and fluffy. Use what ever method you prefer: electric whisk, stand mixer or a good old fashion wooden spoon and elbow grease. Add in the vanilla extract, cooled browned butter and the light brown sugar. Beat till well incorporated. Add in the egg yolk and whole egg. Beat again till combined.

2. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl and then tip into the sugar/egg mixture. Fold in the flour using a wooden or metal spoon. Don’t over incorporate at this point.

3. Fold in the chopped pistachio nuts, chocolate chunks and dried cranberries. Make sure everything is fully incorporated, but again don’t over mix.

4. Lay out two sheets of parchment paper, one on top of each other. Tip the cookie dough onto the sheet about 10cm from the bottom and in a long sausage shape. Gently shape with your hands. Bring over the parchment paper from the bottom and roll upwards to create your sausage shape. Twist the ends to secure and tuck them underneath. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours.

5. After 2-3 hours (depending on how long you can wait) pre-heat the oven to 350 F (190C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out the cookie dough log and carefully unpeel the paper. Slice into as many cookies as you want to cook at once. I made mine just under 1cm thick. Space your cookies at least 3cm apart from each other.

6. Cook the cookies for 12-14 minutes, keeping a close eye on them, till the edges turn golden brown and the tops have gently risen. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the tray.

7. Place any unused dough back in the freezer to enjoy another day.

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