Thursday, August 4, 2011

Apricot Cookies

The other week I ran into a friend, who introduced me to his friend, who turned out to also love baking and cooking! It was very exciting and we talked food, and now I have stolen his idea. He told me that he makes apricot and white chocolate cookies so here is my own version. Apricots are after all one of my favourite fruits, if I get my hands on a load of fresh ones I would eat them till I'm ill! These cookies are made with dried apricots though. My weekly baking has come a day early this week because I had technicians at work that needed buttering up, and I think cookies will help us all to get through Thursday a little easier. I took my usual chocolate chip cookie recipe and simply altered it slightly. For instance, apricots are very sweet so I decreased the sugar, and I stewed the apricots a little so to make up for the extra water I left out the egg. Then I added loads of vanilla. The result was a cookie dough that had a really amazing texture, perfect for rolling into balls, not too sticky or crumbly at all. I even managed not to begin eating them last night, they were all saved for work, because instead a lovely friend brought me tim-tams! So we spent the evening sewing and then relaxed with hot chocolate and tim-tams. I had forgotten how amazingly delicous they were - you just don't get anything that comes anywhere near comparing to them here in Ireland. I must be careful when I go back to NZ to not get fat because there is so much good food there!

However, now I am off topic so will get straight back to it for the recipe:

Apricot and White Chocolate Cookies

100 grams dried apricots
125 grams butter
1/2 cup white sugar (125 grams)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 cups plain flour (300 grams)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
100 grams white chocolate

To begin with you need to stew your apricots slightly, so chop them up and place them in a small pot with 1/4 cup (60 mL) water. Get them boiling and simmer gently for awhile, then if you have a stick-blender give them a quick whiz. If you don't, just leave them as they are, which is what I did. Now the next thing is you should really let them to cool a bit or they will melt your butter.

While the apricots are cooling preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, grease a baking tray, and then cream together your butter and sugar. Of course, cookies will generally turn out OK no matter how you mix them so if you have no electric beater and cannot be bothered beating them so much by hand just mix as much as you can, so long as the butter is all mixed into the sugar.

Next you will add your apricots and vanilla essence to your butter mixture and give it a good stir, or a quick beat with the electric mixer. Then sift in your flour, baking powder and salt. If you have baking soda you could use half a teaspoon of that instead, it will make the biscuits spread more and give them a more golden colour and crispy texture. I had none. Now at this point you want to mix with a spoon because the beater will make a mess of flour everywhere. Just keep on mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is really good and dough-like.

Lastly, it is time to add the chocolate. Chop it up to whatever sort of size you like, or use chips or buttons or something. Tip it into the mixture and mix well with your hands or a spoon. You should now have a soft but firm mixture (that is such an oxymoron but seriously, that is how it should be). Roll your mixture into small balls and press down slightly onto your greased tray. For me this mixture made 25 cookies! Bake each batch for 10 or 12 minutes and then enjoy!!

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