Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Natalie's white chocolate and apricot chunk cookies

Sugar and spice and cookies so nice!

It's the third day of recipes from the holiday cookie party we hosted this past weekend.  This recipe is brought to you by Natalie and Nick.  Weren't they such a gorgeous bride and groom?!  Looking at those pictures again reminded me what a blast their wedding was.

Especially the cookie table.

Oh yes, the cookie table.  Have you heard of this?  It's apparently a western Pennsylvania tradition.  Even Wikipedia says so!  So, you would be correct in assuming that they were totally on board with the concept of a holiday cookie party.  One of the many reasons why we are friends :)

When I asked Natalie what they were bringing, she said she was deciding between two recipes.  One she'd made before and a new one.  Anyone who has cooked or baked under pressure knows that new recipes can be risky.  We discussed that briefly before I said that, if all else failed, she could head to the store for a package of Oreos.  Or...

Natalie:  I'll bring Chips Aholy
Natalie:  I mean Hoy ha
me:  is that the Christmas version?

HA!  Every time I read that it gets funnier and funnier, and I just had to share it with you.

Anyway, the cookies.  Come Saturday night when we were both baking in our kitchens (and our husbands were out of our hair at a basketball game), she went with the new one.  

White chocolate and apricot chunk cookies for the win!

Light and chewy and chock full of good stuff.  I mean, really good stuff.  This was no ordinary chocolate chip cookie.  Natalie used good quality white chocolate and studded the dough with bright dried apricots.  Yum!

How about dried apricots as a nominee for most underused baking ingredient of the year?  Come to think of it, whenever I buy trail mix, I always pick out the dried apricots first because they are my ultimate favorite.  So chewy and sweet and fresh!

Oh, and can we please, please discuss the utterly adorable  tray for the cookies?  All of the guests couldn't help but ooh and aww and hover around this tray, inspired by (what else) Pinterest.  Simply arrange star mints on a parchment lined baking sheet, pop into a warm oven for a few minutes, cool, and you've got a very sweet and seasonal serving tray.  For step by step instructions, check out this link.

Happy baking!

One year ago: Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Natalie's White Chocolate and Apricot Chunk Cookies

-makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies

A few notes: Per Natalie, "For a variation, try se 7oz orange candy slices (again chopped into small pieces) and semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce bag (about 2 cups) white chocolate chips
7 ounces dried apricots, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and apricots.

Drop rounded tablespoons onto lined cookie sheet.  Bake until beginning to turn golden at edges and centers are set, about 15 minutes.

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