When I was younger, one of my favorite treats was the white chocolate macadamia cookies at Subway. Why? I have no earthly idea, but I loved them. As an adult, I can't even remember the last time I stepped foot in a Subway, but I can remember the last time I got a craving for some white chocolate macadamia cookies (last week). So naturally I have just the recipe to satisfy those cravings (that's even yummier than Subway in my opinion).
But I'll let you in on a little secret....this recipe is basically just my Brown Butter Sugar Cookie recipe with some mix-ins!
Step One: Browning the butter
This is optional but the extra time is so so worth it! Browning butter gives it a toasty, nutty flavor that perfectly compliments the macadamia nut flavor. The biggest problem I see people run into when using brown butter in cookies, is not letting the butter cool long enough before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. If you've ever creamed butter and sugar together, you know that lovely airy texture that it should be. If you add butter that too hot to that mixture, it will melt the rest of the butter and start to melt the sugar which will weigh down the dough and take away that light, fluffy texture that we want. So make sure you brown your butter first, then go watch an episode of something on Netflix so that it has time to cool before you start making the dough.
Note: many brown butter cookie recipes call for you to brown all of the butter, however I only brown half. The reason for this has to do with that light, airy texture I was talking about. If all the butter is liquid, it won't properly combine with the sugar and eggs to give us that fluffy texture. So by using half solid butter and half brown butter, we get all of the flavor without sacrificing any texture.
- In a small saucepan, melt ½ cup (1 stick) of butter of medium heat.
- Once melted, stir frequently and watch closely for the formation of brown specs on the bottom of the pan and a nutty aroma.
- Once you see brown specs, stir for just a few more seconds (it browns super quickly).
- Remove from the heat and immediately pour into a different bowl to prevent it from burning.
- Set aside and let cool for at least 20-30 minutes. If it still feels warm enough to melt sugar, let it cool longer.
Step Two: Making the dough
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the softened butter, cooled brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Note: the almond extract is optional but adds a great depth of flavor that compliments the macadamia nuts and brown butter.
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky and you might think you need more flour (you don't).
- Using a spoon or spatula, mix in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight for best results. If you absolutely can't wait, just chill it for at least an hour.
Why do I have to chill the dough?
This is for a couple of reasons. First, letting the dough rest gives the flour time to hydrate. Eggs are the only liquid in these cookies and it takes flour a longer time to absorb that moisture. When the flour is hydrated it helps contain the spread of the cookie so that you get a nice set edge and soft, chewy center. Similarly, since we had to melt half the butter, this gives the butter time to firm back up. We want cold, solid butter going into the oven because that also helps control the spreading.
But don't we want the cookies to spread? Yes, we do and they will. We just don't want them to spread too much because then you get a flat, crispy cookie instead of one with a soft, chewy center.
After scooping the dough balls onto your baking sheet, pop them back in the fridge for another 5-10 minutes to let them firm back up. Similarly, if you freeze the cookie dough balls, they go straight from the freezer to the oven (more on that below).
Long story short: hot oven + cold cookie dough = magic
Step Three: Bake and enjoy!
- Scoop a generous 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.
- Place 2-3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Note: I usually only bake 6 cookies at a time on a half sheet pan because they're big and will spread out.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft.
- Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Tips and Tricks
Only bake one sheet at a time; on the center rack. This will ensure all your cookies cook evenly and the bottoms don't burn. Also, let the cookie sheet cool completely between batches. This will also help ensure all cookies cook evenly and don't spread too much by being put on a hot pan.
This dough will keep really well in the fridge for up to a week, so I recommend only baking a few cookies at a time. That way they're always fresh, warm, and delicious!
The dough also freezes great! You can freeze pre-rolled cookie dough balls and store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
The frozen cookie dough can go straight from the freezer to the oven! Just add about 2 minutes to your cooking time!
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
More Cookie Recipes
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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
- 1 cup brown butter, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup white chocolate chips
- ⅔ cup roasted unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped
- To make brown butter, melt unsalted butter over medium heat, stirring frequently. Watch closely for the butter to develop brown specs and a nutty aroma. Once you start seeing brown specs, let cook for just a few seconds longer (watch very carefully or it will burn). Remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl so that it doesn't continue to cook. Set aside and let cool for about 20 minutes in the fridge. The butter should be soft and pliable.
- Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the brown butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until the texture is light and fluffy (it should look much paler than before).
- Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. The dough should be wet and sticky. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, gently stir in the chocolate chips and nuts until fully mixed in.
- Cover the dough and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum of 2 hours if you just can't wait).
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a light colored baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spoon a generous 3 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet (they will spread, I usually only do 6 cookies on a half sheet pan). Bake cookies for 9-11 minute or until the edges are set and the centers are still soft. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
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