In my past life, I was one of the partners who ran a bakery chain in our city (by this year, it is now the biggest one in the country). I was in charge of cookie production and we made cookies by truckloads every year. During those days, I was running the business side of the cookies, and never even baked one cookies. My nose was immune to the delicious smell of freshly baked cookies, and they were just a bunch of soul-less goods to be sold to me.
When I retired a couple of years ago and decided to cook for this blog as a hobby (which I later breath and live through this blog), I was reluctant to make cookies. With Chinese New Year just around the corner, I have no choice but to try baking cookies, that or shelling out serious money for store-bought cookies. Or wait for the good samaritans for free cookies.
I can proudly say that last week I overcame my fear. I made many, many batches of pineapple tarts (some successful, mostly not so much – I will post later after I give up tweaking. Do expect some seriously burnt tarts!) and a couple of batches of chocolate chip cookies with cashews. They are not awesome, but I am proud of myself. They taste quite good! Visually, they are not as neat and attractive as the ones I used to sell in our shops, but they are my pride and joy.
The chocolate chip cookies with cashews recipe is the one I tweaked slightly from the recipe that we have been using in our bakery. I love the ruggedness of the cookies. The richness of chocolate chunks and nuttiness of cashews are the highlight of this cookies. Bind together with simple cookie dough, they are quite addictive.
And why cashews, of all the nuts out there, you may ask. Well, in this part of the world, they are either peanuts or cashews. There are, of course, walnuts, almonds and occasionally some hazelnuts – but these nuts cost some limbs and kidneys. So they are not really used in commercial baking, affordable commercial baking, I meant.
In a mixer bowl, toss in butter (here I used combination of vegetable-based margarine and butter)
And confectioner’s sugar.
Mix them over high speed with wire whisk attachment.
When the butter and sugar is well blended and white, it is ready.
Add milk powder, flour and baking soda. Mix well over medium speed with paddle attachment.
A couple of minutes’ mixing time is all you need. Do not over mix. You would want crumbly cookies.
Add chopped toasted cashews.
Bits and pieces of chopped dark chocolate.
Mix well with spoon.
Divide the dough into three or four batches. Work with one batch at a time. Keep the others in the fridge to keep the chocolate from melting. Scoop the first batch on top of a piece of plastic (food grade, of course).
Fold the plastic into rectangular shape and roll the cookie dough until the dough is packed.
Cut the dough using round cookie cutter (or any other shapes). Arrange cookies on lightly greased cookie pan. Brush the top with white egg wash.
Bake till golden brown. The cookies will fluff up slightly and the chocolate will melt on some. It is okay. They are loaded with chocolate bits and cashews. They are supposed to look like a bunch of mess. But they taste oh so heavenly. Cookies shouldn’t be pretentious. They are something to be eaten by your fingers, with some friends over some laugh or town gossips. Oh now you hear me justifying my weird-looking cookies.
But, if you ever think the chocolate and nuts called for are a bit over the top, please decrease the amount by half. It will be just as great! It is also easier if you chop up the chocolate and nuts into smaller pieces. Cutting through those chocolate and nuts using flimsy steel cutter isn’t as easy as it looks.
Enjoy this with people you love. Or just keep that in your secret place and eat them all yourself. I am going to do the latter one myself!
Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cashews
200 g butter
25 g milk powder
100 g confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
250 g flour
300 g cooking chocolate, cut into chunks
200 g cashews, toasted and chopped
2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius.
Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat over high speed with wire whisk attachment for 5-8 minutes, until the butter mixture turns white.
Add milk, baking powder and flour. Beat over medium speed with paddle attachment or wooden spoon, until the mixture is mixed well, about 2 minutes.
Add chocolate and cashews. Mix with spoon.
Roll the dough on working surface or packing them tightly over plastic in a cake pan.
Remove the dough from cake pan and cut using cookie cutter.
Arrange the cookies in greased pan. Brush top of cookies with egg white wash.
Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
Keep in airtight containers when cooled.