If you follow Canadian food blogger Tara O’Brady’s Instagram account, you probably already know about these amazing chocolate chip cookies she’s perfected for her first book, Seven Spoons: My Favourite Recipes for Any and Every Day Cooking. Despite my history of drop cookie failures — my cookies were either hard balls of dough OR complete softies that just merged together — I couldn’t resist trying them. And lo and behold. It worked. Fantastically well. The cookies had lovely crispy edges, chewy all throughout and the right amount of chocolate at every bite.
The true beauty of Tara’s recipe though is that it’s a no-fuss, throw together dough that doesn’t require “ingredients at room temperature” (an eternity for impatient midnight bakers). You don’t even need an electric mixer (it’s all by hand, baby). Safe to say this is definitely a keeper.
But, I did make a few changes to the original recipe: I halved the recipe and replaced the flour with homemade cashew meal.
Why cashews? Once during a baking session, my friend suggested we replace a portion of our flour with ground roasted cashew nuts. I really enjoyed the texture it produced and it’s been one of my favourite thing to do with cookies ever since. The nuttiness, aroma and the colour of using roasted cashew meal gives the cookies an oomph that regular flour doesn’t. Making the cashew meal yourself is easy. You just need a food processor or a blender with the helicopter blades. Unlike the store-bought stuff, the homemade version will have little bits and pieces of nuts, which I think adds a nice texture and speckled look to the cookies.
Note: Because I halved the recipe, it was easier (and more accurate) to list the ingredients by their weight than volume/cups.
Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Tara O’Brady’s Great Chocolate Chip Cookies, from the cookbook Seven Spoons: My Favourite Recipes for Any and Every Day Cooking (2015)
113 g (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cubed
347 g cashew meal (ground cashew nuts)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon medium-grain kosher salt
100 g brown sugar
50 g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
145 g bittersweet chocolate chips, chocolate chunks are even better
Preheat oven to 360 F. Line baking sheets or sheet pans with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together cashew meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter at a very low heat, making sure not to let it sizzle or bubble. Let it cool for a few minutes before using. Pour melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars. Add in the egg and whisk briskly to combine. Stir in vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients. Once it has mostly blended, fold in the chocolate chips. Keep folding in the dough until all flour has been incorporated. Don’t worry about over-mixing the dough, because there isn’t any gluten to overdevelop with cashews.
If the dough appears too wet, refrigerate for 5 minutes or more. Scoop out one rounded tablespoon for each cookie. Arrange on a prepared pan, leaving 2 to 3 inches in between each. (The cookie dough can also be stored overnight in the fridge, loosely covered.)
Bake for about 10 minutes or until the tops are cracked and golden, but the cookies should still be soft in the middle. Leave the cookies in the pans for a few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.