Tuesday, April 29, 2008
White Chocolate Whalers
Most days I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to bake. Sometimes I may not know the exact recipe, but I will have an ingredient that needs to be used up (lemons, bananas, etc..), other days I will want something more specific, a cookie or brownie, or some sort of cake will be on my mind. A lot of times a recipe that I saw on a blog, or if not an exact recipe, an idea that I got from a blog (strawberry rhubarb cheesecake for instance) will be bugging me -- and the only solution for that of course is to bake.
This was not one of those days. When I got up this morning, I had no idea what I was going to bake -- which was a very odd feeling. I wasn't terribly worried about it of course because I have lots of recipes on my lists and I knew I could find something fairly easily. I ended up dismissing all the recipes on my refrigerator though -- all too time consuming for today. I still want to make the graham flour banana bread that I found on Peabody's site, but I have not been able to find graham flour to save my life. (I also double checked and Peabody says that it has to be graham flour and not whole wheat flour -- which a lot of people say are the same thing...) One day I will get around to ordering it online, but until then, that recipe is out.
So, I flipped through my Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey book while I ate my cereal, but nothing there jumped out at me. Next I grabbed a stack of my books and settled down in front of the computer -- I had a hunch it was going to take me a while to find a recipe today.
I was wrong.
The first book I started with once I was good and settled was my Carole Walters Cookies book. I used it yesterday for the Lemon Cookies and I didn't really think I would find anything in it today, but cookies are just easier to deal with than cakes or pies or tarts. Actually, I figured I was going to make some sort of bar cookie since I was feeling fairly lazy, but as I flipped through the book I landed on the page for these white chocolate rice crispy cookies and knew I had found it.
I have wanted to make this recipe for a while. Actually, when I first got the book I intended to make them for my friend Candy who really likes white chocolate but I don't like white chocolate much at all, so it's not something that I tend to make that often. However, this looked like an interesting cookie that I was willing to try, but I never seemed to have enough white chocolate or oranges in the house -- today I had everything I needed.
I have to say, except for the bites where you get a lot of white chocolate -- these are pretty good. Crispy and cracky on the outside from the rice crispies that you roll the dough in before baking. Chewy and soft on the inside from the egg heavy dough and the rice crispies you mix in. The flavor is pretty intensely sweet with just a hint of orange in the background and of course the whole thing kind of reminds me of rice crispy treats, and who doesn't like those?
The recipe came from the "Big Boys" section of the book which means big, fat cookies. I think mine were a bit smaller than she intended, and they are smaller than the lemon cookies from yesterday, but they are still quite large.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tbsps grated orange zest (I used two oranges)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 cups crispy rice cereal, divided
3 (3.5 oz) bars high quality white chocolate, cut in 3/8 inch dice
3/4 cup coarsely chopped, toasted unblanched almonds (optional) -- I left them out
Preheat oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silmats.
Melt the butter with the orange zest over low heat. Set aside to cool to tepid.
Combine the flour and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the egg yolks and whites on medium speed until thick and lightened in color. Add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, then increase the speed to medium high and beat until well blended, about 1 minute more. Slowly pour in the butter-zest mixture, then add the vanilla. Mix for 1 minute longer to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed. The mixture will thicken as it is beaten.
Using an oversized rubber spatula fold in 3 cups of the rice cereal. Strain the dry ingredients over the batter, folding gently with the rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in the chocolate pieces and the almonds, if using.
Place the remaining crispy rice cereal in a flat dish. Using a #16 ice cream scoop, drop mounds of dough into the cereal and toss lightly to adhere. Place six balls of dough on each cookie sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Using the heel of your hand, flatten into 3-inch disks.
Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. To ensure even browning, rotate the pans halfway through. Let rest for 10 minutes, or until firm enough to handle before loosening with a large metal spatula. Transfer to cooling racks.