While cleaning the refrigerator this weekend, a couple of cherries fell down from the box. I took it as a sign that I have to do something out of it. And so I baked cookies. Thinking about their partners – cherries with what? White chocolate. And nuts? Pistachios.
It’s the festive season with new year looming. Though we do not celebrate Christmas but I like the spirit of baking this season.
The cookies turned out great and they fall into the ‘can’t eat just one’ category. Quick and simple yet elegant, they’re nutty and crunchy and sweet. These colorful and gorgeous cookies incorporate the wonderful flavors of dried fruits and nuts.
I love dried fruits and nuts in baking. They are extremely nutritious with flavors concentrated and so versatile in baking, desserts, sweets and what not. Every other cookie or sweets or desserts recipe has them in some form or the other.
With a little bit of decoration, like frosting or icing or simply dipping them in a melted white chocolate and adorned with sprinkles, you can have a nice boost of chocolaty sweetness on top. You can even roll them into sheet and cut them into various shapes and sizes using your favorite cookie cutter before baking.
I like to keep a stash of homemade cookies and biscuits and other baked goodies in home and hardly buy any. And of-course I ‘healthify‘ them by using wholegrain flour, oats, flax seeds, maple syrup in place of sugars and adding nutritious dried fruits and nuts. I like to make a small batch at a time and vary the flavors and combinations every time.
For a Divine Cookie :
1. Use good quality butter and whip it up nicely with sugar. This helps incorporating air for a light cookie and helps dissolve sugar, avoiding dryness and graininess in cookie.
2. Always use salted butter when making cookies. Unsalted butter leaves the cookies tasting bland. The salt improves the flavors of the butter in the cookies.
3. People generally melt the butter in a microwave while baking. This doesn’t give the good results with texture and taste of the butter-sugar mixture. Butter gives cookies the consistency, flavor, texture and body. So use butter only at room temperature.
4. Using rice flour in making cookies gives them a nice crunchy texture. Rice flour is gluten-free, and this results in a crumbly cookie. For more delicate taste, use cornstarch (corn flour) or custard powder.
5. Make sure vanilla extract you have is labeled “pure”.
Ingredients:- Make 26 cookies
All purpose flour – 1 1/2 cup
Rice flour – 1/3 cup
Custard powder(vanilla or pineapple) – 3 tbsp
Icing sugar – 1/2 cup
Butter – 180 gm
Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
Dried cherries, chopped – 1/2 cup, 100 gm
Pistachios(soaked, peeled and chopped) – 1/3 cup, 70 gm
White chocolate chips – 1/2 cup, 120 gm
1. Toast pistachios lightly and set aside.
2. Sift all purpose flour, rice flour and corn flour together. Sift it 3-4 times. The flours need to be well mixed and the flour aerated.
3. Whip up the butter and sugar with hand mixer at low speed till light and fluffy, for 3 mins. Add vanilla and whip again.
4. Add sifted flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Keep on mixing the flour till the mixture just starts to come together. Don’t over-mix. Its okay if the dough looks crumbly. If the mixture is too dry to hold, add 1 tsp water at a time until it holds together.
5. Add cherries, pistachios and white chocolate and mix. Roll into a log about 1.5 inch. in diameter(wider or thinner as you wish). Wrap with foil or wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hr. This firms up the dough to retain its shape.
6. Put baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 180C/350F. Slice the log into 1/4 in. slices. Arrange them on the baking sheet, placing them 1 in. apart.
7. Bake for 13-15 mins. or till the cookies just start turning brown.
8. Remove from the oven, allow cookies to cool on a wire rack.
1. Different ovens work differently and may have different heat settings. So baking time and even temperature may vary. You can always check to see if the cookies are done.
2. Cookie dough is versatile. In place of dried fruits and nuts, you can add chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies, or adding some cinnamon and nutmeg will give you a cinnamon flavored cookies. All it takes to have a nice citrous flavored cookies is to add some finely chopped orange or lemon zest.
3. Vary sugar according to your preference. I like it mild sweeter. Also you may change the amount of butter required for the right consistency.
4. Cut the log with sharp knife. If the crumbs fall apart, shape them with hands. I used electric knife to slice them neatly without the crumbs falling apart.
As we all loved these cookies, I am sending some over to dear Kavi as an addition to her Foodomania’s Christmas Cook-Off.
To the Bake Fest.