Saturday, November 14, 2009

JOY: A plateful of cookies

Sorry that I have been away for so long. I've been preparing (and practicing, and stressing) for a seminar about metabolomics. But here's the thing: I don't study metabolomics. Not at all. But, as a part of my program, the second year students give a literature talk. The talk can be about their research, or just related to the field of your department, and mine happens to be medicinal chemistry. My boss suggested that I branch out and do research about something that I was not famiIiar with. I may have been a bit over my head with the topic choice, but in the end, it's over, and I wasn't reduced to tears at the podium. Nor did I throw up. And I consider that a plus. Man, oh man, I do not like public speaking. Helping me throughout my prepartions for this seminar have been some very wonderful people. I cannot say it enough. I am a lucky girl to have the people that I do in my life. One particular evening, as I was trying to teach myself some statistics algorithms (I gave up, by the way, and just asked someone smarter than myself), my friend Choi brought over a plateful of cookies. Only two days previously, I had loaned him this:

And, in the middle of my principle component analysis despair, I got these Cashew-Caramel Cookies:

Though Martha has the official rights to name these cookies, to me these will be Choi's Cashew Crunch Time Cookies. Okay, maybe that it is a bit verbose. Thank goodness I didn't have to give a seminar on how best to name food! But I was completely touched by his thoughtfulness. I gave the seminar last Thursday. I don't remember anything about it. I couldn't tell you if I sounded nervous, idiotic, or just plain scared. But those cookies? Unforgettable.

Cashew-Caramel Cookies (aka Choi's Cashew Crunch Time Cookies)

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups roasted salted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 24 cubes soft caramel candy (7 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and salt together. Coarsely chop 1 cup cashews; set aside. Process remaining 1 1/2 cups cashews in a food processor until finely chopped. Pour in oil. Process until mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Put cashew mixture, butter, and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture. Mix in reserved chopped cashews.
  3. Shape dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; space 2 inches apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 6 minutes; gently flatten with a spatula. Bake until bottoms are just golden, 6 to 7 minutes more. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
  4. Melt caramels with cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring. Let cool. Using a spoon, drizzle caramel over cookies; let set. Store airtight in single layers.

Images and recipe from {}

1 comment:

Tams said...

OOoh YUUUMMMY!!! Let's bake next weekend =) Mmmm Macarons for Holidays!