Sunday, November 8, 2009

Accidental Absences and Macadamia Mania

Why hello! If you are reading this, thankyou for coming back to check on me, even though I have been lame and haven't given you any fun food to look at in a while. If you aren't reading this, then, um, woah... I just blew my own mind. So, did my absence make your heart grow fonder? If it just filled you with annoyance at my laziness then i plead with you to forgive me, please, ill even show you how to make the best white chocolate macadamia cookies you could possibly imagine. Now come on, who can say no to that? People with diabetes maybe, but yeah, im sorry. I have excuses though! Lots! My long list of excuses all began on Thursday the 15th of October at 4:36pm. I remember it vividly, I was lying on my bed watching "Madmen" thinking how much that show makes me wish i were a smoker when my phone rang, and it wasn't my mum! I know, crazy. Turns out it was some lady asking me to get my behind to Brisbane for an interview to be part of their collections team! Cue frenzied panic crossed with utter joy, which was not hampered by the fact that i didn't totally know what the job i was being offered was. I ran around and found my interview handbag and shoes, then brushed the dust off of them, then put on my interview clothes only to find that my months of baking had left them, slightly undersized. Cue more panic and a trip to target, thank gosh for Thursday night shopping. I then drove my way up to Brisbane and turned up on my sisters doorstep with an air mattress and a bag of crispy m&ms (a driving necessity). After a night of talking, toast eating and valley dropping off I came home and laid out my interview clothes and went to bed, but not before i jumped on my laptop and tried to find out just what a "collections officer" was. Next morning i was interviewed and then instantly offered a job! "I must have really impressed them!" I thought, so naive. They asked me to start on the Monday so after a quick trip to a cupcake shop with my sister I went back to Ballina to pack. By Sunday night me and my bird Rolly were all settled in to my sister's cute little previously blue house. It is now three weeks later and I am now an official debt collector. It isn't a cool feeling to be a debt collector, i will tell you that now. I call people all day and ask for money, which of course is then their cue to abuse the hell out of me, which, while completely understandable, makes the working day not so enjoyable. My second day I was told by a debtor "you're awful chirpy for a debt collector." While three days ago I was given a wake up call when a debtor asked me if I "was trained to be this rude." My chirpyness, it is leaving me, and this, I do not like. Of the seven people trained since I started, only 3 of us are left, and I have seen two other older workers quit. I hope I am lucky enough to be one of them soon! While I was astoundingly relieved to be finished with the job hunting game, I shall start again, if only for my personality's sake. So wish me luck, and I shall reward you with cookies you will tell your grandchildren about. I personally can't wait for that so Im just walking round telling other people's grandchildren.
Macadamia chopping: fun. White chocolate chopping, not very thoroughly thought through. After these few pieces were chopped I went back to the drawing board and added a step: cool white chocolate in fridge if weather is astoundingly hot for October.
Look! Brown butter! Brown butter I made all on my little lonesome! This is another of those things i always read about in American recipes but am always too scared to try. Im so glad i went for it, it was awesome. Thankyou Joy for giving such awesome instructions on exactly how it all works, and what should happen when. If it weren't for those instructions I would have chickened out before the 'brown' part happened and would have just ended up with hot butter.

This is the 'brown' bit im talking about, see? They're little burnt bits of butter which makes the mixture taste kind of nutty, I think from now on im going to be using brown butter in ALOT more things.

This photo makes me want neenish tarts! Ooh, I saw a recipe for those today, i hope i make that happen, real soon...

Here is my lovely little ball of deliciousness. If you are wondering why it is still a ball, well, let me tell you. Since Cassie from howtoeatacupcake talked about freezing balls of cookie dough before baking them in one of her recipes I have become a little obsessed with it. It works so well, it leaves the middle slightly squishy and more puffy, it helped me perfect my favourite peanut butter cookies, and I figured it would do the same here. A few things happened though, I got distracted by visitors and ate lunch and left the trays of cookie dough in the freezer for AGES, and i put heaps of macadamias and white chocolate in the mix, AND i didn't cook them long enough, which all culminated in these little miracles. They are thick and raw in the middle, I couldn't have hoped for anything better. I love when my cooking mistakes turn into something beautiful.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Joy the Baker (who adapted it from Betty Crocker)

For Joy it made two dozen small cookies, while for me, I havent got a clue. I just made them as big as I wanted. Make them as big as your judgement suggests, then add a little more!

Ingredientes (that's Spanish for ingredients, just in case i lost you.)

  • 115g butter (direct quote from Joy: don’t even think of using margarine)
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (I used normal, I think joy wrote at some point that it doesn't really matter which you use.)
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (I chopped them in half because i wanted a flavour explosion. And I used more than recommended, once again for the flavour explosion.)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks (i just chopped up white chocolate, its so much bigger than choc chips!)

Método (are you catching on to my theme yet?)

  • Preheat oven to 175C. In a medium saucepan melt the butter, swirling and stirring the butter until nicely browned bits appear in the bottom of the pan. This may take about 5-7 minutes. Once the butter is browned, remove pan from heat and set aside to cool a bit while you measure out the dry ingredients and set them aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the brown sugar and slightly cooled butter. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add egg and beat for one minute more. Add milk and vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
  • Turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the dry ingredients all at once. With either the stand mixer on low, or by hand with a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients until just mixed in.
  • Fold in the chopped nuts and white chocolate chips.
  • (Eat a spoonful of mixture and tell me if it tastes like aromatherapy oil to you. Other taste testers assured me i was being silly, but I need more opinions. Don't worry if it does, the taste does not carry on past the baking stage.)
  • Scoop two teaspoon sized balls onto a lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are deliciously golden. Remove from oven and let rest of the baking sheet for 3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.