Cookie Archive

Thursday, March 29, 2012

raspberry coconut macaroons

raspberry coconut macaroons

Every year around this time, behind the scenes, I go through my annual Macaroon Marathon, in which I decimate bags and bags of coconut in an effort to find a variation on the lowly macaroon worth noting, publicly. As evidenced by the fact that my archives are virtually coconut macaroon-free, I hadn’t thus far succeeded. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

this week's macaroon marathon
rolled in coconut chips, prettiest

Two years ago, insistent on making something my coconut-loathing but chocolate-adoring husband would find palatable, I made multiple attempts at chocolate-coconut macaroons. They were… brown. And tangly. And rarely chocolaty enough. I don’t remember them fondly. Last year’s experiments centered on whatever appallingly bad home economics had led me to having three (3!) bags of unsweetened coconut in my pantry, and my determination that they would leave my kitchen in cookie format. They were… okay. I am sure more skilled macaroon makers than I make excellent macaroons from unsweetened coconut, but I found them consistently more dry and scratchy than those that began with sweetened coconut. This week’s coconut macaroon trials were the most obsessive yet, with versions rolled in unsweetened coconut chips (gorgeous, but man, are those chips unpleasant to chew), chopped almonds (tasty, but hardly noteworthy), thumbprinted with the intention of filling the indentation with jam or chocolate down the road but I lost interest before I did (a sure sign that they were a snooze) and even flattened, with designs on a sandwich cookie. Were it not for the one in which I’d actually pressed a whole raspberry inside a sealed ball of coconut macaroon, I wouldn’t be here discussing macaroons today because although it was fussy and odd to construct, the flavor smacked unmistakeably of cookie destiny: coconut and raspberries were meant to be together.

coconut snow

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

potato chip cookies

potato chip cookies

When I was in the 4th grade, my lunch table mates had a habit of taking the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that their mothers had lovingly prepared, (trimmed of crusts, devoid of frights like gloppy grape jelly) opening them up, arranging some potato chips over the filling and smooshing the sides back together again before eating them. I don’t have a single other school lunch memory to draw from. I don’t remember if I ever ate a Sloppy Joe, if my school district considered pizza a vegetable, or whether my mother packed apples or cheesy poofs (likely the former, drat) in my lunchbox; I also can’t remember the name of a single person at that table. But I have a have a crystalline impression, unmarred by time (and, frankly, the current brand of early senility that has caused me to need 20-odd minutes to recall the word “unmarred”), of the odd delight that was those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; I remember their crunch and I remember how they tasted.

the not-so-secret ingredient
about to grind the chips

How they tasted was phenomenal. I’ve tried to explain this potato chip in a sea of sweet, rich ingredients to people for years and they, as you might expect, look at me like I’ve done lost my mind (nothing new, really). My husband, a guy who loves salt the way most people love chocolate, doesn’t restrain himself from looking grossed out when I bring it up. But I know the truth: they are wrong, the potato chips are right.

chopped pecans

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

nutmeg maple butter cookies

oak leaves and tiny acorns

Every December, I make you a promise in my head that this, this! will be the year that I share a recipe for classic sugar cookies, the kind that you can roll into any shape your heart desires and sprinkle, then ice, glitter and bauble merrily into the New Year and this year was no different. But then December arrives and my cooking dance card is absolutely bursting with offers to fill your internet quota with cocktails and party snacks and wrappable candies and so, so many cookies. Cookies with butter and chocolate, cookies with puddles of mint; cookies with hazelnuts and blackberries or white chocolate and ginger and butterscotch, people. Is it any wonder that I always lose sight of loftier baking goals each year when faced with the prospect of butterscotch-crunched cookies?

heady, delicious maple syrup
grating fresh nutmeg

As you can probably tell, I’m having a great time. I briefly wondered when I handed in my manuscript what I would do with all of that free time for the five weeks it is in the hands of some sainted copyeditor. I shouldn’t have worried, in part because I have one of these, and also because of butter; I am actually biding my time with boxes and boxes of butter. My daily vista is whipped butter, faintly sparkled with granulated sugar clinging to a KitchenAid paddle before an avalanche of flour and spices puff their way up from the attached bowl. My freezer is packed with layers upon layers of cookies between sheets of waxed paper in airtight containers, eagerly awaiting the party invitations that will surely come flooding in now that, for the first time in the history of my disorganized life, I am actually ready for them.

pile of craggy dough

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Friday, November 18, 2011

gingersnaps

gingersnaps

And then, just like that, I decided not to work anymore. It’s weird, I finished my manuscript and I was raring to go — reshoots! edits! let’s talk design! — for about two days and then, almost out of curiosity, I closed the elaborate spreadsheet that owns me tracks all the recipes, photos, intros and progress in the manuscript, just to see if it could close, after being open for more than a year, and it did. And then, I didn’t reopen it. I pulled on my boots and wandered all over the city, eating roasted chestnuts from a street cart, buying glitter nail polish, delighting in the carpet of golden leaves underfoot and being fantastically schedule-free. So far today, I drank a latte — sitting down I might add, and not while rushing to the grocery store because I ran out of flour again — and I’m thinking about making some applesauce. Or trying again to convince my husband that we should paint the living room. Or maybe I’ll take a nap when the kid does? Clearly, I have some tough decision making ahead.

the lineup
weighing it out

The good news is that being here doesn’t feel remotely like work; I am simply delighted to be back. And so, let’s talk about the gingersnaps that I also made just for the heck of it, just because I could, earlier this week. They’re thin and intensely spiced and quite snappy — buttery crisp at the perimeter, tentatively approaching tender and chewy towards the center, but not committing to it. I know that ginger junkies tend to like gingersnaps that are closer to ginger bombs, with grated fresh ginger and/or nuggets of candied ginger, but these (unless you make a couple tweaks, which I will attempt to suggest) are not that kind of snap. These are the kinds your grandmother might have made, as evidenced by the healthy helping of dark, funky and impossibly thick molasses.

tower of warm spices

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

apple pie cookies

As far as reentry* points to on-a-whim cooking go, these cookies aren’t the most obvious choice. I might have gone with something from the market, or something from a new fall cookbook or maybe just something practical that would feed us for the next few days, like a hearty stew.

how i make piebutter into flouruntil it's like thispie crust cookie lids, bases

Instead I went with cute. Like, unseemly cute. Borderline twee. I might as well tie a ribbon around them, had I any ribbon or the ability to tie it without yelling at it (it’s true; I’m ribbon inept), no doubt eradicating any sweetness in the gesture. I don’t know what came over me. One day I was craving apple pie because that’s what you do in October, you crave apple pie, the kind that you pull from the oven still gurgling under its vented lid, a trickle of juices making their way for the crimped edge, the kitchen smelling like fall blew up in it. But I wanted my very own pie, a pie I didn’t have to share and so the obvious place to have gone with this would have been with hand pies. But I’m finishing up the cookbook’s dessert section right now and lordy, I hardly need more butter-and-sugar laden confections lying around but, short of denying oneself pie (madness!) I wondered exactly how tiny I could make them and from there my brain latched onto the idea of cookie pies (or “tookie” pies, as my sidekick would call them). Teeny tiny adorable cookie pies. I may have finally lost it.

how to slice your appleapple insertsdip in cinnamon spice sugarcrimping

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