Archived entries for cookies

More secret weapons than you can possibly imagine: Incredibly awesome chocolate chip cookies

A Scene*: We meet our heroes checking the weather for the day. The time is far too early. The day is not important.

Shiv: I’m not sure I understand what the weather is supposed to be doing; it’s going to be sunny, but raining at the same time? That icon is confusing.
Doctor Boyfriend: That’s not actually rain, it’s blood. It means that we should expect the apocalypse.
Shiv: For serious? But I don’t have any clean socks. I’m not ready.
Doctor Boyfriend: You can do laundry here. I will not send you back to New York unprepared for armageddon.
Shiv: It’s ok, I can wash my socks at home. I need to locate my flaming sword, anyway.
Doctor Boyfriend: Wait, you don’t know where that is? How do you lose a flaming sword?
Shiv: I mean, I *think* it’s under my bed. I’m pretty sure. Yeah, it’s got to be there.
Doctor Boyfriend: You know, if ever there were something you should keep track of…
Shiv: What, the end of the world is coming because I lost something in my apartment?  God is not only vengeful, but petty? Is that what we’re talking about?
Doctor Boyfriend: Well–
Shiv: Wait, no. No more military theology before coffee. Bigger question: am I going to need an umbrella?

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As there was no coffee to be had (I know, I can’t talk about it) we made these cookies instead; I’m hoping they’ll work as a peace offering if the sword is not where I think it is. And, frankly, I think they might–these cookies are (if I may say so myself) pretty flippin’ tasty. After years of trying, I think I have almost perfected the recipe–the cookies are dense and chewy, but not leaden. They’re buttery, but not greasy; sweet, but not too sweet. Of course (because I am so difficult to please), the recipe is probably going to remain a work in progress for the rest of eternity; where cookies are concerned, I am ever in pursuit of biggerbetterfastermore. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to mention them in the comments!

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*Content edited slightly for my brain’s inability to retain things verbatim.

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Chewy Ginger Cookies with Cardamom and Black Pepper

I must confess: last week’s lemon ricotta cookies were just a warmup. They were pretty tasty, but my baking focus was really elsewhere.

You see, the pressure was on. I needed some fabulous cookies to bring to the Serious Eats cookie exchange this week. Those people judge cookies for a living. I needed something good: something spicy, chewy, and a little unexpected. This recipe caught my eye because it included cardamom and black pepper, and oil instead of butter. Supposedly the oil helps keep them chewy, and it also means you can whip them up quickly with a wooden spoon.

To deepen the spicy flavor, I added a bit of unsweetened cocoa and grated fresh ginger. I recommend you do the same. The dough keeps well in the fridge, so you can double the recipe and bake them up over the course of several days.

I arrived at the Serious Eats headquarters and was slightly saddened to realize I wasn’t the only one with gingersnaps in tow.  And I hadn’t carefully weighed each ball of dough (wow), and I hadn’t added lard or espresso powder or cornmeal or chiles. So much for unexpected.

But these cookies are delicious. They’re fragrant and spicy and warming and complex. They beat Trader Joe’s triple-gingersnaps by a mile (and I love those things.) In fact, my husband just pronounced them some of the best cookies he’s ever had which is pretty serious praise from a guy who can’t be trusted with a plate of cookies in the room.

And of course, the cookie exchange at Serious Eats wasn’t a competition, and the editors and contributors are all lovely folks, and we talked recipes and cooking and restaurants and beer (and I tried to control my jealousy of their incredible office cookbook collection) and a good time was had by all.

See more from the Serious Eats cookie swap here.

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For the Cookie Jar: Lemon Ricotta Cookies

I have a thing for lemon-ricotta pancakes. Tender and soft, fragrant and rich, almost a cross between cheesecake (ooh!) and breakfast—they make me a little weak. So when I saw this recipe for lemon ricotta cookies, I knew my walk home would include a stop at the cheese shop for the best ricotta in the neighborhood.

There’s nothing like a pile of lemon zest, a pool of vanilla extract, the oven warming up, and the whir of our new blue stand mixer to make an apartment feel cozy. And the scent of these cookies baking is even better.

For a moment, I considered skipping the glaze, but I’m glad I didn’t. It takes just a second to mix while the cookies are cooling, and it really is essential. In fact, these are better the day after you make them, when the zesty icing has had awhile to sink into the cookie, brightening up the flavor.

Don’t be afraid if these get a little crispy on the edges—in fact, that’s the best part. You shouldn’t take them out of the oven until they’ve gotten a little golden on the bottom.

12DaysCookies_badge-1These cookies were a hit at my office potluck, and they’re also my contribution to the Share Our Strength 12 Days of Sharing virtual cookie jar. My friend Jennifer at In Jennie’s Kitchen is hosting this virtual cookie swap for a good cause. Please consider making a donation—no matter how small—to end childhood hunger. You might even win one of these prizes. Continue reading…

Ultimate Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

A few days ago, as he feverishly prepared for the deadline, Matt announced that it was customary in his department to bring cookies to one’s dissertation proposal talk. He said he could just pick some up at Panera (gross), and there was also the option of Olive’s (a bakery whose undercooked Frisbee-sized cookies fueled many of the late night study sessions of my undergraduate years), but I volunteered to do better. I don’t speak math, so I can’t really proofread his papers or criticize his slides. I couldn’t tell him if his equations were off or if he needed to explain some statistical concept further. I’m really no help in that category, but cookies? Cookies I can handle.

These chewy peanut butter nuggets were adapted by Deb (of Smitten Kitchen) from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. They have the perfect texture, and the surprise of sweet peanut butter chips in each bite. The recipe also calls for chocolate chips, but I skipped those since I was also making a batch of intensely chocolatey cookies recommended by another favorite blogger. (More on those later, I promise.) I also skipped rolling the cookies in additional sugar, because I have found that many of the recipes from this book are a tad sweet for my taste.

I mixed the batter the day before and let it rest overnight covered in the fridge. Dough-aging is all the rage these days, since those New York Times cookies, and in this instance it may have improved the chewiness and heightened the deep caramel flavors of the final result. Also, it was just convenient.

And they were exceptional. I tasted one right out of the oven, then swore I would stop. Then I bit into another crackly edge into the soft, chewy, nutty center, and had to sit down.

I’ve had a few peanut butter cookies in my day, and maybe you have, too, but we should both throw away those other recipes. This is the one. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so passionately about a cookie—certainly not a peanut butter cookie. But I’m serious about these. Luckily Matt took the rest of the batch with him on the train (after tasting a few for “quality control.”)

Stuffing themselves with stacks of cookies, his committee members praised the presentation. I’m sure it wasn’t just the sugar talking, but it can’t have hurt.

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Too much is never enough: Black forest cookies.

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Get six bakers in a room and you will get six different opinions on what makes The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. For me, it’s got to be chewy, and soft, and (of course) so chocolatey you could implode. I mastered a certain form of chewy while I was in high school–though, what I considered “chewy” was really just, you know. “Undercooked.” Which is fine for me, because I am a huge fan of cookie dough; it is not, however, (necessarily) appropriate when one is going to be sharing the cookies with anyone but their fellow dough-hounds. So, a few years ago, I embarked on a great quest to figure out how to make cookies that…well…cook (without being crunchy).

My journey took me to many places: the land of extra baking powder, the thicket of shortening, the back alley of egg-whites-only. Some truly dark, dark places. In the end, the answer wound up being simpler than I could have imagined: refrigerate the dough, and keep it cold. Alarmingly obvious, right? Of course, it makes perfect sense: the cookies I tend to favor are at least 40% butter; if you put it in the oven when it’s already started to melt (this applies also to hot cookie sheets–be sure to cool yours for a few minutes between batches!), you’re kind of cruising for a bruising.

My journey ALSO took me to a wonderful land: the land of the black forest cookie. Much as I love the traditional chocolate chip cookie, there’s only so many times I can make the exact same recipe (in the name of science, of course) before I feel a deep and abiding need to mess with it. In this case, I started thinking that there simply wasn’t enough chocolate involved in the chocolate chip cookie, and that it was my moral obligation to sort that out–enter the cocoa powder and the two kinds of chips. Of course, such a decadent disaster was not for the untrained palate; all that chocolate could kill someone without the appropriate background. So, I opted to cut the sweetness a little by throwing in some nice, tart dried cherries. It was at that point that the stars aligned, the heavens opened, the angels sang, and I was fairly certain I was on to something.

And then Bench ate an entire batch in one sitting, and I knew it for sure.

The texture on these things is impossible to explain; they’re chewy, sure, but also somehow velvety. They’re cohesive, but have a delightful crumb. They’re great in milk, and great shoved into your mouth fistfuls at a time.

Try these. Seriously.

Black forest cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
¾ c sugar
¾ c brown sugar
2 eggs
2tsp (or more) vanilla
2 ½ c flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼-1/2 c cocoa powder
12 oz chocolate chips (a mix of white, milk, and dark)
1/2 c dried cherries, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. cream together butter and sugar
  2. Add eggs then vanilla.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients; slowly mix in to butter mixture.
  4. Chill batter for approximately one hour. Drop on to ungreased cookie sheets (about a dozen per sheet), chilling batter between batches.
  5. Bake for ten minutes. Remove from pan to cool. Be sure to rinse the pan in cold water between batches–you need it to be cool when the batter hits it.


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