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[Photographs: Carrie Vasios]

Do you remember your first crush? I do. He was a tall, dark-haired boy who worked at my local bakery. Looking back, it's no surprise that I fell in love with the kid who sold me cookies. Of course that was only his day job. At night he was studying for his English Ph.D (swoon) and I made it my business to stop by frequently for the store's white chocolate macadamia cookies.

Though my cookie man is long gone, no doubt having become a Nobel laureate, I still eat these cookies frequently. After trying various versions, I've finally found a recipe that makes the cookies exactly as I remember them: soft and chewy—I even pull them out of the oven when they're just on the underside of done—with golden edges. White chocolate seems to get creamier than regular chocolate during the baking process, and when the cookie is hot, a bite in the right place will cause velvety white chocolate to pool in your mouth.

Keeping the macadamia nuts roughly chopped creates a satisfying crunchy contrast. But what cements this recipe as my definitive one for white chocolate macadamia cookies is the dough surrounding the chocolate and nuts. It's heady with vanilla and a liberal dose of salt makes my brain have that "Mmm... more" response that occurs when chocolate and salt come so happily together.

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