Cookie Wisdom, Why White Chocolate isn’t Chocolate, and Apple Butter Baking

Desserts / March 22, 2021

Baking is so, so different from cooking. The rules that bind it together are set in stone and predictability is how you measure success. Unlike, say, being a bit generous with the dill weed in a meatloaf — which will change the flavors without dramatically changing the end result — adding more baking powder doesn’t just change a cookie, it may flat-out ruin it. Given this locus of discipline many shy away from baking with abandon. Then the other side of the coin is once you build a process of success there is plenty of room for creativity. That’s where I live, actually. And this cookie is proof.

I often approach cooking by looking at something that works; meaning nailing the ratio of flour, to sugar, to fats, to leavening, (see BASIC recipe below in tabs,) and then ask myself about ways to switch out elements of flavor, texture, or color. I also start most recipes by looking in my pantry and taking stock of what I can do with what I already have. For instance, we know that apple sauce is a great addition to muffins and cakes. It adds moisture and sweetness, and a soft texture. Since partnering withRaven’s Originals foods as a recipe developer, I find their apple butter to be extremely well balanced and smooth, superior almost to apple sauce. So, why not try it in a cookie?

The perceptions from others, when I tell them about combinations, is fascinating to me. A friend of mine, when I informed her that I was adding white chocolate chips to the apple cookie recipe, gently grimaced at the combination, and I wondered why. Do we hear the word “chocolate” and think of cocoa and there’s a whole taste stuck in our heads? Because white chocolate is NOT CHOCOLATE. There is no cocoa in it. (Click here to read why.)  It is curious to me why we even call it that. It melts differently. It doesn’t really awaken the palate like regular chocolate. It is more of a buttery element. And that’s why I wanted it for my apple butter cookies. (It totally works beyond belief, by the way!)

This is a winner in every way. They are chewy on the first day, more cake-like from then on. They retain their sort of “plopped on the pan” shape even after cooking. So I love how rustic they look. I highly recommend these confections alongside a bowl of vanilla ice cream. And since my creative side once awakened goes on and on, I can literally think of dozens of ways to change and use these. Add toasted walnuts. Use them in place of a vanilla wafer and cover them with custard and whipped cream for sheet pudding. Smooth them flat, add some ground corn flakes, and use as a base for a baked apple tart. You see, once you find processes that work, there is no reason your crazy experimental side can’t take over.

I suggest you start here having fun here!

 

White Chocolate Chip Apple Butter Cookies

Makes 2 Dozen

Ingredients

½ C shortening
½ C white sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ t vanilla extract
½ C apple butter (I used Raven’s Original™)
1 ¾ all-purpose flour
½ t baking soda
½ t kosher salt
½ t allspice
½ C white chocolate chips

Method

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

In a mixer set on medium blend the sugar, vanilla, egg, and shortening. Mix for about 90 seconds. Add the apple butter and mix until well blended but not overly worked. Add the flour, 1/3 of it at a time. Add the baking powder, salt, and allspice with the first batch of flour. When blended fold in the white chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 8 – 9 minutes until golden on the edges. Let cool on sheet slightly, remove, and eat!

BASIC Cookie Recipe

*1 C All Purpose Flour, ½ C white sugar, ½ C shortening, ½ t baking soda, ½ t kosher salt, 1 large egg is my go-to cookie base. By adding the ½ C apple butter I knew I needed to increase the flour by ¾ C. Boom, success. And then you can always add more spices. It’s a texture you’re shooting for. Have fun!



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Let's think about food preparation as art, and flavors as adventurous stories. Say ‘goodbye’ to safe sequences, or copycat flavors, and use your senses to curate the perfect meal. My recipes help your kitchen come to life as I share anecdotes about food chemistry, and fun shortcuts that conquer menu-mediocrity. my cooking style is one that combines everyday ingredients into sensuous layers that wake up the bored palate as I reveal easy-to-understand tips, tricks, and hacks so everyone can prepare and serve Bling Cuisine with confidence and joy!

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