Weekend Cooking, Starting with Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

This weekend was cooking madness at my house. I cooked up goodies for a party on Saturday and a cookie exchange on Sunday.

Knowing that I’d be having people over and a cookie exchange the next day, I set out making a ton of cookies. In planning, I wanted to do at least a couple little fancy cookies and some things that were far simpler. So when I started baking Friday night, it was with a recipe I knew I could make a lot of, and I wanted it to be fairly simple and freezable so 1) I could make extra and freeze them to put in Christmas cookie plates for other friends and 2) just in case no one ate them.

So I hit up the basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but decided to liven it up a bit for the holidays. I took a basic cookie recipe and swapped out the semi-sweet chips with white chocolate chips, added pecans and dried cherries.

They turned out OK, but I realized after the fact (always after the fact) that I should have bought more pecans to really bulk up the cookie (which I accounted for in the recipe below) and shouldn’t have tried to make the batch all at once.

My new cooking lesson is that the baking soda reaction is only good for so long. It apparently starts reacting soon after it mixes with the other wet ingredients, and if you wait too long, like when you’re baking 7 dozen cookies, the cookies get kind of flat and crispy.

What these cookies did do right, however, was jazz up a basic recipe in a way that made it a little different from the norm. I’d love to hear some of your suggestions for ways to make a basic recipe better.

Cherry, White Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Cherry, Pecan, Chocolate Chip cookies

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cup dried unsweetened cherries, chopped
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugars with a mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well-mised. Gradually beat in as much of the dry mix as you can, and stir the rest until well-combined. Fold in cherries, pecans and chips.

Drop by spoonfulls onto nonstick cookie sheets or sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake  a dozen at a time for 10-12 minutes. Cool on sheet for two minutes and finish cooling completely on wire racks.