A few years ago, we started a new gift-giving tradition on my mom’s side of the family. Instead of everyone buying something for everyone else, we pared it down to a “secret Santa” where everyone picks someone else’s name, and buys just for them. In addition, we have a small “fun” gift exchange – everyone brings a $25 generic gift, wrapped, and we pick numbers. Whoever gets #1 picks out a gift and opens it. Whoever has #2 can choose to “steal” the gift from person #1, or pick a new gift… And on it goes. Some people refer to this as a “white elephant grab bag”. We have so much fun with this, and always end up laughing until our stomachs hurt.
While we were out finishing up our Christmas shopping this year, my Chief Culinary Consultant was putting the final touches on his grab bag gift and picked up a 3-pound bag of sea salt cashews. Seriously? I almost busted them open in the car on the way home. I literally have not stopped thinking about those cashews since December 20th. While I never got a bag of my own, I decided to take my cashews, throw in some chocolate and flaky sea salt, and turn them into cookies.
Naturally, I thought the best way to accomplish this would be with absolutely ginormous cookies. The only time I make compromises with cookie size is for Christmas – so many cookies to eat; smaller cookies means I can eat more!
I took my all-time favorite cookie, and switched it up to include big milk chocolate chips, chopped roasted, salted cashews, and the requisite sprinkle of fleur de sel before hitting the oven. I had a fabulous sample of salted caramel cashew chocolate bark at a Godiva store a couple of years ago, and the combination of those flavors have been a favorite ever since.
These cookies are big, beautiful and utterly delicious. The dough has a slight bit of sweet caramel-y undertone to it, and it’s loaded with crunchy, salty cashews and sweet milk chocolate.
Maybe next year I’ll stuff these cookies in a stocking for someone? I’m sure my family will approve
Sea Salt, Cashew and Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 18 HUGE cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 24 hours
One of my favorite cookie doughs repurposed with roasted cashews, milk chocolate chips and a sprinkling of fleur de sel.
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8½ ounces) cake flour
1 & 2/3 cups (8½ ounces) bread flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1¼ cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 & 1/3 cups (20 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
Sea salt, for sprinkling
1. Sift together the cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until very light, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and chopped cashews.
3. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
4. Scoop 3 1/2-ounces of dough, roll into a rough ball (it should be the size of a large golf ball) and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have six mounds of dough on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the parchment or silicone sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto another cooling rack to cool a bit more, until just warm or at room temperature. Repeat with remaining dough (or keep some of the dough refrigerated for up to 3 days, and bake cookies at a later time). Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.