Easter may be all about chocolate eggs and marshmallow Peeps. But I think it should be about cookies.
But then again, I think every day should be a cookie day.
And this cookie has it all: A twinkle of color in keeping with that festive holiday. Chocolate for tradition’s sake. And almonds for their symbolic promise of hope.
“Big White Chocolate, Almond and Cherry Cookies” is a recipe by Pastry Chef Joanne Chang that was originally published in the December 2013 issue of Food & Wine magazine. The recipe by the chef-proprietor of Flour Bakery in Boston was originally called “Big White Chocolate, Almond and Cranberry Cookies,” but I substituted dried cherries for the dried cranberries to make it more appropriate for this time of year.
The recipe uses three different flours — all-purpose, bread and almond. They give the cookie great texture. They are thin and crisp on the edges,, but stay thick, soft and chewy in the centers. The white chocolate gives the cookies a good measure of sweetness, the cherries add a subtle fruity tang and the almonds a lovely crunch. It’s a cookie that hits all the notes.
My husband’s colleagues devoured them. In fact, as you get ready to hide the Easter eggs for the big hunt, you might want to squarely tuck away a few of these cookies, too — just to ensure you actually get to enjoy a few for yourself.
Big White Chocolate, Almond and Cherry Cookies
(Makes about 2 dozen cookies)
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2/3 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
14 ounces white chocolate, cut into small chunks (2 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups dried cherries (or dried cranberries)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the slivered almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk all three flours with the baking soda and salt. Add the white chocolate, cherries and the cooled almonds and toss well.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in the whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla until incorporated, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough until it is well chilled, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Bake the cookies in two batches: Scoop 1/4-cup balls of the dough onto the baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart; lightly press them down with your palm. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for about 17 minutes, until the cookies are golden around the edges but slightly soft in the center; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Adapted from a recipe by Joanne Chang, as published in Food & Wine magazine, December 2013
More Joanne Chang Recipes To Try: Mama Chang’s Hot & Sour Soup
And: Apple Snacking Cake