Crunchy Cherry Chocolate Nut Cookies

featured2I had a potluck to go to, a road trip to plan for, and a cupboard full of nuts and fruits and flours in need of thinning. So here we are. Because I used palm sugar, the base cookie isn’t very sweet, which I like, but I added the white chocolate shwizzle because, like Everest…

White chocolate isn’t my favorite thing in the world. It’s not really chocolate. It’s a little weird. A little too sweet. And yet I buy it. But combined with the right stuff–nuts and fruits–it comes alive.

Crunchy Cherry Chocolate Nut Cookies (makes about 2 dozen 2-inch cookies)

1 stick, 1/2 cup or 113g unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (180ml) coconut palm sugar
1-1/3 cup (320ml) or about 4 oz. walnuts, toasted and finely chopped*
1/2 cup (120ml) rolled oats, roughly ground*
1 cup (240ml) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon (or a few pinches) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1.25ml) baking powder
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla
1/4 cup (60ml) or 1 oz. dried tart cherries, chopped

For the icing:
1 cup (240ml) white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. (15ml) non-hydrogenated shortening

*You don’t have to toast the oats, but it does give them more flavor. You can toast the nuts and oats together, spread out on a baking sheet, at 350F/175C degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch closely, and toss halfway through the cook time, to make sure nothing burns. Let cool and chop them together in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.

Using a standing mixer and the paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer, cream the butter for a few minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the palm sugar and mix until thoroughly blended. The palm sugar will not melt into the butter like regular white sugar.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, toss the cherries with 1 tablespoon of the flour.

In a separate bowl whisk the nuts, oats, flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Add the cherries and mix until they’re evenly distributed.

Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix on low-speed just until everything is blended. At this point you can refrigerate the dough or form and freeze the cookies to bake later.

Taking a rounded tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball then flatten with the palms of your hands. These cookies aren’t going to spread, so you want them formed into flat disks from the start.

Place the disks on a parchments-lined baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes. Unlike a lot of cookies that are pulled from the oven when a little under-done, you want these to be golden all over so they’re crisp when they’re cooled. Rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time, and check them to make sure they’re not burning on the bottom.

While the cookies are cooling…

Melt the white chocolate chips and shortening over low heat until smooth. White chocolate doesn’t always melt as easily as real chocolate, so you might have to give it a good stir every so often to encourage the process. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies, or a bag and tip to pipe.

Place the cookies back on the cooled sheet and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to help the chocolate harden.

Serve or store in an airtight container. The cookies should last for a few days at room temperature, or about a week in the fridge.