Cranberry, Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies

Everybody loves cookies.  Me especially.  And when I go about making a batch of cookies, it becomes very serious business.  I am very particular with what I consider to be a great cookie, for me it has to be gorgeously tender, melting in your mouth with a slight fudgy chewiness.  The outside of the cookie must be cooked until golden, to give a crisp, slightly crunchy textured edge that balances the chewiness perfectly.  Cookies must always contain some form of chocolate, and for me that means Lindt dark chocolate.  And finally, cookies should be easy to prepare, meaning preparation and cooking time totalling 30 minutes max! 

So when I hunt through my recipe book collection searching for my next cookie adventure I tend to gravitate towards cooks that I know share my cookie pickiness, and somehow I always end up back to the pages of either my Nigella Lawson or Martha Stewart cookbooks.  These ladies know their cookies...Nigella through unashamed greediness and Martha through fuss.  Today I opted for Nigella’s recipe, the photos and method just grabbed me.  Saying this I couldn’t help but make my own amendments to the recipe. 

Rather than using plain choc chips, I decided to use a Lindt dark chocolate bar.  I am over choc chips.  I mean they’re tasty but in terms of texture, they are uniform and pretty boring.  When using an entire bar of good quality chocolate you have the power to slice and dice as you please, leaving some chocolate pieces chunky and rustic whilst almost obliterating others into tiny chocolately shards.  I consider this method to be far superior as it creates a more interesting textured cookie.  I also added two other ingredients to the cookie, mostly for texture but also for flavour.  The cranberries were added for their slight tart twang of flavour and also for their known chewy, stick to your teeth capabilities.  They also add a beautiful crimson pop of colour to the cookie which looks just a little bit pretty.  The macadamias were a must have.  I mean they not only add a nutty texture and flavour but they somehow carry along a buttery finish to the cookie and they make perfect bed fellows with the dark chocolate and cranberries.

One tip of Nigella’s that I did follow was using a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop the cookie dough onto the oven tray.  This formed the most gorgeous plump pillows of cookie goodness, but please don’t be tempted to flatten them down, they will do their own thing whilst cooking and come out of the oven looking perfect. 

All in all I am pretty proud of these cookies, they are everything I hoped they would be and more.  So I guess I can say a big thank you to my pickiness and Nigella’s greed.  Enjoy, K xxx

Cranberry, Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies
Adapted from ‘Nigella's Kitchen’ Nigella Lawson

150g soft unsalted butter
¾ cup soft light brown sugar
½ cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg, fridge-cold
1 egg yolk, fridge-cold
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 x 100g Lindt chocolate
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup macadamias

Preheat the oven to 170°C.  Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Melt the butter and let it cool a bit.  Put the brown and white sugars into a bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together.
Beat in the vanilla, the cold egg and cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy.
Slowly mix in the flour and the bicarb until just blended, then fold in the chocolate, cranberries and macadamias.
Scoop the cookie dough into a quarter-cup measure and drop onto the prepared baking sheet, plopping the cookies down about 8cm apart.  You will need to make these 2 batches, keeping the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge between batches.
Bake for 15-17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.  Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

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