These masa caramelized White Chocolate Chip Cookies with macadamia nuts have the perfect balance of sweet and salty, chunky and chewy, making them ideal for your holiday cookie platters. Adding some nixtamalized masa harina to the mix gives these white chocolate cookies lovely texture and a touch of sweetness that is simply mouthwatering.

rectangular fluted silver tray with caramelized white chocolate chip cookies.

Why I Love This Recipe

Holiday baking season is in full swing, which is why I couldn’t wait to share this recipe from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Masa: Techniques, Recipes, and Reflections on a Timeless Staple by Jorge Gaviria.

overhead shot of a silver tray of white chocolate chip cookies next to MASA cookbook.

In it, Jorge takes classic white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies and gives them a delicious new flavor by both adding masa harina to the dough and caramelizing the white chocolate before folding it in. Aside from being absolutely crave-worthy, this white chocolate chip cookie recipe is also:

  • Easy To Make – This simple recipe for drop cookies takes just 15 minutes of active time to prepare, including the time it takes to caramelize the white chocolate. It’s easy enough for even novice bakers to try!
  • Made With Only 12 Ingredients – I’d bet you already have at least half of what you need on hand.
  • A Fun Twist On An Old Favorite – Everyone loves white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, but this tasty recipe adds some serious depth of flavor and textural interest to set it apart from the competition.
  • Make-Ahead & Freezer-Friendly – Resting cookie dough is always a good idea, but freezing cookie dough balls for cookies on demand is pure genius.

Why You Should Consider Buying The Masa Cookbook

Jorge Gavira — founder of Masienda, purveyor of the highest quality masa and masa harina products — has truly outdone himself with his first cookbook, Masa.

If you’ve ever wondered about masa, the nixtamalized corn dough that has been central to Latin American cooking for millenia, there is no better place to start. With a deep dive on the history of this staple, plus dozens of recipes and gorgeous full-color photographs demonstrating its many versatile uses in both traditional and new-age dishes, this is without a doubt the most definitive guide on the ingredient.

So whether you bought a bag of masa harina to try your hand at making tamales, tortillas, or molotes, this book will guide you through how to use it up in waffles, cookies, and samosas, among many other delicious dishes. In fact, once you read this cookbook, I have a feeling masa will become a staple in your kitchen, too!

white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts in an oblong shaped piece of wood with two holes cut out.

Ingredients & Substitutions

As promised, you only need a few basic ingredients to make this enviably tasty white chocolate chip cookies recipe. Here’s what to gather:

  • White Chocolate Chips – Make sure you’re getting real white chocolate here, which should list cocoa butter as the primary ingredient. If you can’t find it in chip form, look for a high-quality white chocolate bar and chop it up.
  • All-Purpose Flour – Regular ol’ white flour is the base for this cookie recipe. Depending on what you have on hand, cake flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend should also work.
  • Masa Harina – For a touch of sweet corn flavor and an irresistible texture throughout the cookies. White or yellow will look the most seamless in these cookies, but blue masa harina can also be used if you don’t mind some visible speckling.
  • Baking Soda – For leavening. Not to be confused with baking powder!
  • Salt – For seasoning.
  • Butter – The recipe here calls for salted butter, so if you are using unsalted, add a little extra salt to taste. You’re also welcome to swap in vegan butter for a dairy-free cookie if needed!
  • Granulated Sugar & Light Brown Sugar – These two sugars play different roles in the development of a perfect cookie texture, so try to use both. You can swap in organic cane sugar for granulated and use grated jaggery, or dark brown or muscovado sugar in place of the light brown if needed.
  • Eggs – For binding. Let them come to room temperature before making your dough to make mixing easier.
  • Vanilla Extract – For flavor complexity. You can also use an equal amount of vanilla paste or powder, or use half as much ground vanilla instead.
  • Macadamia Nuts – For crunch and buttery richness. Cashews, blanched hazelnuts, or pine nuts make for good substitutes.
  • Flaky Salt – Optional, for added texture and a lovely sweet-salty balance. If you plan on going this route, the pyramid shapes of Maldon are hard to beat!
white chocolate chip cookie dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.

How To Make White Chocolate Chip Cookies

These masa-flecked white chocolate macadamia cookies come together with very little fuss. Here’s how to make them:

Step 1: Prep. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Step 2: Caramelize White Chocolate. Spread out white chocolate on the lined pan. Bake the chocolate for 5 minutes, or until you see some browning along the edges. Stir the chocolate and repeat until all of the chocolate is the color of light amber honey. This happens slowly at first and then quickly, so keep an eye on the oven. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Allow the caramelized chocolate to cool completely before breaking it up into chunks for the cookies.

Step 3: Dry Ingredients. Combine the flour, masa harina, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, whisk together, and set aside.

Step 4: Cream Butter & Sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy and pale.

Step 5: Wet Ingredients. With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Mix until just combined.

Step 6: Finish Making Dough. Add the flour mixture in increments until evenly incorporated. Fold in the chopped macadamias and caramelized white chocolate pieces.

Step 7: Rest Dough. Press a plastic sheet onto the top of the dough and refrigerate the bowl for at least 30 minutes before scooping.

Step 8: Scoop Dough. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a baking sheet. Scoop the dough into 2-inch clumps and space them evenly on the prepared pan, with at least 4 inches of space between them.

Step 9: Garnish & Bake. Top the dough with flaky salt, if you’re so inclined. Bake for 6 minutes and rotate the sheet. Bake for another 6 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges and just set in the middle. Cool the cookies for as long as you can stand it and serve. Enjoy!

white chocolate chip cookies cooling on a baking rack.

Optional Variations

While I think this white chocolate cookies recipe is perfect as-is, there’s always room for customization in the Muy Bueno kitchen. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Gluten-Free – Masa harina is made of corn, which is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure to check your labels as some brands process the corn in the same facility as wheat. Swap in your favorite cup-for-cup GF flour blend for the AP.
  • Vegan/Dairy-Free – Use your favorite vegan butter to make these cookies dairy-free. To go a step further and make them vegan, use a store-bought egg substitute (e.g. JUST Eggs) and make sure your sugar and chocolate are certified vegan-friendly.
  • Nut-Free – If macadamia nuts are a no-no, you can swap in pine nuts (which are actually a seed) or omit them altogether.
  • Add-Ins: Dried cranberries or dried cherries would be lovely against the white chocolate.

Expert Tips

  • Caramelize the white chocolate for better flavor and line your baking sheet. Similar to browning butter, there’s nothing quite like the unique rich and nutty flavor. Don’t put the chocolate directly on the baking sheet to caramelize, or it will absorb the flavors of every sheet-pan dinner that came before.
  • Rest the cookie dough for better texture. While the recipe calls for a minimum of 30 minutes, you’re welcome to let it rest overnight in the fridge.
  • Make-ahead. You can also scoop out the dough into balls on a parchment-lined sheet to freeze, then pop in a bag or freezer-safe container for up to three months. When you’re ready to bake them, there’s no need to defrost them first — just add 1 to 3 minutes onto the bake time until they achieve the color and consistency you want.
  • Shipping. To ship these cookies, I suggest wrapping them in an airtight container with ample cushioning to prevent breakage. If possible, vacuum seal them first for the longest shelf life. They should do well shipping in cooler weather, but due to their white chocolate shouldn’t be shipped during warmer months.
horizontal hero shot of a closeup of caramelized white chocolate chip cookies on a rectangular silver serving platter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are vanilla chips the same as white chocolate?

No! The primary difference is that vanilla chips are made with hydrogenated fats instead of cocoa butter, which means they won’t caramelize the same way. If you are unable to find real white chocolate chips (try Trader Joe’s!), use a white chocolate bar cut into pieces instead.

Should you roast macadamia nuts for cookies?

I generally buy my macadamia nuts pre-roasted, but if you opt for raw nuts, then giving them a quick toast in a dry pan or in the oven will help to enhance their flavor.

How should you chop macadamia nuts for cookies?

The easiest method is to put them into a gallon-sized zip-top bag and bash them with a meat mallet or rolling pin. You’re also welcome to chop them with a chef’s knife and cutting board, but prepare for some shooting nuts to litter the floor. Finally, you can pulse them in a food processor, but then you’ll have to wash the food processor bowl.

rectangular fluted silver tray with caramelized white chocolate chip cookies.

White Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 (1 rating)
Recipe from Jorge Gavira's Masa Cookbook. These masa caramelized White Chocolate Chip Cookies with macadamia nuts have the perfect balance of sweet and salty, chunky and chewy, making them ideal for your holiday cookie platters. Adding some nixtamalized masa harina to the mix gives these white chocolate cookies lovely texture and a touch of sweetness that is simply mouthwatering.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips or chopped bars
  • 2 ⅓  cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓  cup masa harina
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼  cups butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • flaky salt, optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • Spread out white chocolate on the lined pan. (This is going to get gooey, so do not put the chocolate directly onto a baking sheet, or it will absorb the flavors of every one-sheet-pan dinner that came before.) 
  • Bake the chocolate for 5 minutes, or until you see some browning along the edges. Stir the chocolate and repeat until all of the chocolate is the color of light amber honey. This happens slowly at first and then quickly, so keep an eye on the oven. It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. 
  • Allow the caramelized chocolate to cool completely before breaking it up into chunks for the cookies.
  • Combine the flour, masa harina, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, whisk together, and set aside. 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar for a few minutes, until fluffy and pale. 
  • With the mixer running, add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Mix until just combined. 
  • Add the flour mixture in increments until evenly incorporated. Fold in the chopped macadamias and caramelized white chocolate pieces. 
  • Press a plastic sheet onto the top of the dough and refrigerate the bowl for at least 30 minutes before scooping.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a baking sheet. Scoop the dough into 2-inch clumps and space them evenly on the prepared pan, with at least 4 inches of space between them.
  • Top the dough with flaky salt, if you’re so inclined. Bake for 6 minutes and rotate the sheet. Bake for another 6 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly brown on the edges and just set in the middle. Cool the cookies for as long as you can stand it and serve.

Notes

Optional Variations:
  • Gluten-Free – Masa harina is made of corn, which is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure to check your labels as some brands process the corn in the same facility as wheat. Swap in your favorite cup-for-cup GF flour blend for the AP.
  • Vegan/Dairy-Free – Use your favorite vegan butter to make these cookies dairy-free. To go a step further and make them vegan, use a store-bought egg substitute (e.g. JUST Eggs) and make sure your sugar and chocolate are certified vegan-friendly.
  • Nut-Free – If macadamia nuts are a no-no, you can swap in pine nuts (which are actually a seed) or omit them altogether.
  • Add-Ins: Dried cranberries or dried cherries would be lovely against the white chocolate.
Expert Tips:
  • Caramelize the white chocolate for better flavor and line your baking sheet. Similar to browning butter, there’s nothing quite like the unique rich and nutty flavor. Don’t put the chocolate directly on the baking sheet to caramelize, or it will absorb the flavors of every sheet-pan dinner that came before.
  • Rest the cookie dough for better texture. While the recipe calls for a minimum of 30 minutes, you’re welcome to let it rest overnight in the fridge.
  • Make-ahead. You can also scoop out the dough into balls on a parchment-lined sheet to freeze, then pop in a bag or freezer-safe container for up to three months. When you’re ready to bake them, there’s no need to defrost them first — just add 1 to 3 minutes onto the bake time until they achieve the color and consistency you want.
  • Shipping. To ship these cookies, I suggest wrapping them in an airtight container with ample cushioning to prevent breakage. If possible, vacuum seal them first for the longest shelf life. They should do well shipping in cooler weather, but due to their white chocolate shouldn’t be shipped during warmer months.
Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 210mg, Potassium: 70mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 321IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks