Monday, November 14, 2011

Cashew Butter Cookies

Any writing about baked goods that you may read on The Messy Apron is going to have a strong pro-cookie bias, even though I’ve posted relatively few cookie recipes so far. I can’t give a good excuse for this poor representation of my true feelings, except, perhaps, as someone with a sluggish metabolism, I really shouldn’t eat a lot of cookies. The holidays are beginning to rush at us, however, and I shall take that as my license to cookie!

Recently, I made some cookies that have rocketed their way to Most Favored Cookie status. I was armed with this recipe from Cooking Light magazine (which I had somehow collected in many forms from magazine clippings to internet bookmarks) and a fresh batch of homemade Chai Spice Cashew Butter. The original recipe called for macadamia nuts, but I didn’t think it would be much of a stretch to substitute cashews instead. Besides, the cashew butter I made had a consistency that so much resembled the cookie dough we all sample before baking (or eat half of) that I just had to put it in a cookie.

I continued the chai-style spice theme from the cashew butter into the cookies by adding a smidge of each of the same warm spices. I also added some chopped cashews along with the dried cranberries in the original recipe, and they added some welcome crunch. These cookies are soft and moist, but not cake-like or crumbly. They’re chewy in the middle and gently crispy on the edges and they come out with a lovely smooth but crackled surface.

The flavor of these cookies is a bit more sophisticated with its creamy and crunchy cashew representation and subtle hint of spice. Their construction can also be a bit sophisticated if you make your own cashew butter, but I’m convinced you could substitute another nut butter, whether from your kitchen or from a jar. The rest of the cookie-making is pretty standard, much like any other drop cookie.

If you really want the full Messy Apron Chai Spice Cashew Butter Cookie experience, however, you may have to make your own cashew butter. Or, I could just share the fabulously delicious cookies that I made with you. Except, um, well, you see, um, they’re all gone.

Chai Spice Cashew Butter Cookies
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup Chai Spice Cashew Butter (or cashew butter of your choice)
½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup chopped cashews (I used roasted and lightly salted cashews)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and allspice. Whisk together until well-combined. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, place the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat together until well creamed and fluffy, about 1 or 2 minutes.

3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well-combined. Add the cashew butter and beat until well combined.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the dried cranberries and cashews. (If desired, you can cover and chill the dough for up to a day until ready to use.)

5. Prepare a cookie sheet by spraying it lightly with cooking spray or lining it with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Scoop the dough in heaping tablespoons. Roll the dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Gently press the ball to flatten slightly. Place the dough balls at least 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

6. Bake at 375 F in the center of the oven for 10-11 minutes or until the cookies are just beginning to brown on the edges. Cool on the pan 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on wire racks.

Makes about 30 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

Other recipes like this one: Apricot and Almond Cookies with White Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies with Black Walnuts, Chocolate Cinnamon Hazelnut Cookies

One year ago: Savory Squash Bread Pudding with Bacon and Onions

Two years ago: Potato and Bacon Frittata

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