with a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough, then start
adding ingredients. Make sure you play fast and loose
with the rules, and the result is perfect for the
is the official gateway to the holiday season, which means
cooking and sharing, of course, with smiling family members
gathered in warm kitchens to lovingly re-create treasured
specialties from recipes passed down through the
warm and fuzzy part of that tradition is cookie-making. But
for the novice baker it can be time-consuming, confusing and
messy. Bar cookies or decorated cookies? Flour, powdered
sugar and candy sprinkles all over the counter. The array of
ingredients (molasses, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract,
fruit) to be measured, mixed, shaped and finished with a
flourish. We’re tired already.
an easier way for the cookie-confused, one that purists
scoff at -- until they taste the end product. Essentially,
we’re going to doctor a tube of Pillsbury chocolate chip
cookies into unrecognizability.
need the cookie dough and bags of Mariani dried cherries,
Diamond pecan halves and Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate
morsels, all found at most supermarkets. For a
"gourmet" touch, find some pine nuts (Corti Bros.
market carries them).
the oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dough and lay the tube
on the surface of a nonstick baking pan; be sure the dough
is very cold. Ignore the Pillsbury directions that say,
"Spoon dough by rounded teaspoons two inches apart …"
We want clunky, politically incorrect cookies, so we need to
break the rules.
using a blunt knife (so the nonstick surface isn’t
damaged), cut the roll into ½-inch-thick coins. Place them
around the cookie sheet. They’re big and awkward and will
take up most of the sheet, but that’s OK -- we want them
to melt into each other and stick together, so that when
they cool we’ll need to break them off at the
"seams." Why? For aesthetics, of course. We don’t
want our cookies in only one size and shape, or confused
with ones that take actual skill.
the fun part: Take a few cherries, pecans, chocolate morsels
and pine nuts and mash them into the dough. How’s it
looking? Need another pecan over there? What about more
cherries on that one? Does that one have enough chocolate?
You get the idea.
the cookies in the oven and ignore the timing instructions
on the Pillsbury label, the one that says, "Bake 10 to
14 minutes or until golden brown." Let’s bake ‘em
for 20 minutes and add 2 or 3 or 4 minutes, depending on how
they look. We want them dark and crunchy, with slightly
burnt edges and a tinge of char on the nuts and cherries.
the cookies from the oven. They smell and look pretty darn
good, don’t they?
do you say now, Martha Stewart?
the cookies cool, put a quart of milk and your favorite
glass into the freezer. You know what comes next.