Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Archive Recipe: Apricot Almond Cookies

Gosh, I still love these cookies. They come together easily and are super flavorful. They’re a big favorite with my husband, so if I’m not sure if I’ve been doing everything just right lately, I can bake up a couple pans of cookies and all, if needed, will be forgotten.

When I made the most recent batch of Apricot and Almond Cookies with White Chocolate, I tested them using the convection setting on my oven. I’ve been a little hesitant to try baking with convection, because, well, I felt like I didn’t have a clue what would happen. After doing a little research and taking a little advice, I decided I could get cookies onto the cooling rack and subsequently the dessert plate faster using convection.

Convection baking these cookies gave very satisfactory results. The cookies were a little browner than when I baked them conventionally, but they were still soft and chewy. I could bake two pans at a time without stopping to turn the pans or worrying about proper heated air circulation, and it took much less time, only about 8 minutes instead of 12 minutes. I can recommend either baking method for delicious cookies, just pay attention to baking times, since ovens can vary.

I also used quick-cooking oats this time around (I usually use regular rolled oats), and the cookies were a little less chewy and a little smoother in texture. Again, I can recommend both ways of approaching the oat component of these cookies. For me, it will always be whatever is on hand that goes in the dough.

And speaking of whatever is on hand: this basic cookie formula can be customized based on what’s in your pantry, or based on what you happen to like best. Other dried fruits, nuts and chocolates are right at home and you can do what you like. The batch size is relatively small so your experiments can be quick and easy. And if you’ve got access to convection baking, they can be even quicker.

Apricot and Almond Cookies with White Chocolate
adapted from Cooking Light magazine

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (¾ stick), softened to room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup regular or quick oats
¾ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate bar)
½ cup chopped almonds

1. In a medium size bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in another large bowl if mixing by hand) combine the brown sugar and butter. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

3. Beat in the egg. Beat in the almond extract. Add the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in the oats.

4. Add the apricots, white chocolate and almonds. Stir until just combined. Chill the dough for 2 hours or up to 3 days (or freeze for longer if desired).

 5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or spray with cooking spray.  Form the dough into balls about 1-2 tablespoons each. Arrange on cookie sheets and bake at 350 F 12 minutes (or about 8 minutes if using a convection oven) or until lightly browined.

6. Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool until at least cool enough to eat. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 20-30 cookies, depending on the size you make them.

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