Categorically, I dislike dried fruit. Raisins, figs, apricots, any and all of them. Whether cooked or eaten out of hand, they have a certain smell and texture that just does not appeal to me. But in one certain cookie, where pistachios play the biggest role, dried apricots reflect the glory of the other ingredients, and I am learning to like them, even just a little bit at a time.
Really, it is all about the pistachios in this cookie. Every summer, for the past 17 years, I have catered for the New York Philharmonic when they perform their Concerts in the Parks series. And, they are cookie junkies. They often eat upwards of 800 cookies in an evening, between the orchestra members, support staff, and stage crew. Every year I am challenged to come up with something new, and this year was the debut of the pistachio-apricot-white chocolate chunk cookie. I had created the recipe for a chocolate chip cookie class that I teach at the Institute of Culinary Education, and it was perfect to bake in large quantity. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, and can be sliced and baked as needed. Nothing like a refrigerator dough for ease of production.
I try to present 8 to 10 kinds of cookies at each concert, with a rotating repertoire of dozens. But these were a new-found hit, the verdant pistachios nearly the same color as the Great Lawn, where they were served in Central Park. I stood behind the dessert buffet line and watched as guests skillfully used tongs to move other yummy cookies out of the way to turn up one of these treasures. They all said it was the combination of the nuts and the pale orange fruit that made them great. Big chunks of sweet white chocolate could only help. Maybe my foray into the pleasures of dried fruit has begun. I’ll keep trying. If nuts are involved!