Macadamia Cheesecake Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 sticks (or 16 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (or about 1 bag) white cheesecake M&Ms, more if desired
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
Set butter on counter to warm up to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Into a medium mixing bowl, put 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom. Whisk together, then set aside.
Into a large mixing bowl, put 2 sticks room-temperature butter, 1 cup light brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar. Cream with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 2 large eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Set it aside.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Gently stir in half a cup to a cup at a time, then mix until smooth. Continue until both halves are fully combined.
Stir in 1 cup white cheesecake M&Ms and 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts, until evenly distributed through the cookie dough. You can use either the mixer or a spoon for this.
Using a teaspoon, drop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Leave about 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spreading.
Bake cookies at 350ºF for 8-10 minutes, or until edges begin to turn golden.
Remove cookies from oven and place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack. If desired, press a few fresh M&Ms into the top of each cookie. Allow to cool before transferring to a container.
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size. I got 45.
If you forget to set out the butter to warm up, you can put it in a bowl and then microwave it for 30-60 seconds to soften it. Try not to liquefy it.
Cardamom is a spice used lavishly in Indian pastries. It has a sweet, nutty, complicated flavor. In this recipe, it adds complexity without competing against the premier ingredients. You can experiment with other spices if you like.
White Cheesecake M&Ms are a limited-edition flavor made for the 2017 Valentine's Day season, sold exclusively through Wal-Mart. The bag is 8 ounces and holds a little more than a cup of big M&Ms. Measure precisely if you like, but you can dump the whole bag in and just have a slightly higher number of M&Ms per cookie. Also, you can press a few extra M&Ms into the tops of the cookies just after they come out of the oven, if you want pretty tops. I really recommend you get a second bag if you plan to do this.
If you cannot get White Cheesecake M&Ms, then I suggest freezing some cheesecake filling to chop up instead. Flavors such as white chocolate, plain, or vanilla should substitute well.
The dough is very soft and spreads out while it bakes. If you have trouble handling it, try chilling it briefly in the refrigerator. If it spreads too much, you can also put cookies on the tray and chill that way before putting them in the oven. Chilling should make for slightly smaller and thicker cookies.
The cookies come out of the oven in big pillows, and they look almost raw. They probably aren't. They will soon flatten and firm up. DO NOT try to eat these right out of the oven. They are floppy and molten. You must wait for this recipe to cool first, and give it a good 8-10 minutes to finish its cooking process before you start trying to take the cookies off the trays.
If you want softer, chewier cookies then use the shorter cooking time. If you prefer crispy cookies then use the longer cooking time. Remember, you can put them back in for a little longer if necessary, but you can't unbake them if you go too long. Do not overbake these.
This recipe tastes like pouring a chick flick into a mixing bowl and then baking it into delicious cookies. They are the ultimate comfort-food indulgence for a broken heart or other calamities. In addition to Valentine's Day, they're also ideal for baby showers, weddings, celebrations, or anywhere else people use pink-and-white decorations on ludicrously sweet confections.