butter, eggs, sugar. Put them all together and you get
you get a cookie. And what could be more magical than
are the most democratic of desserts, the dessert that is
enjoyed by everyone. Some may prefer chocolate chip, some
may go for delicate wafers, but everybody loves them. Even
people who canít eat them love them.
time of year, cookie consumption only increases. Like
Christmas songs on the radio, you canít escape them ó
they are all around us, like molecules of air, but crispier
and with sugar on top.
they are almost as much fun to make as they are to eat. And
you know how it is about making cookies: Once youíve made
one batch you want to make another. And another. And
another. And another.
made five batches. Six, if you count the recipe that didnít
work out right. Seven if you count the fact that I tried
that recipe twice. Ahem.
year, I didnít want to go the chocolate-chip route. Iím
tired of chocolate chip, even though it is scientifically
provable that chocolate-chip cookies are the ultimate baked
treat. I didnít go the oatmeal-raisin route either,
despite their unquestionable position as a strong No. 2.
year, I guess I went a little more elegant. A touch more
sophisticated. Itís the holidays, I reasoned ó time to
live it up.
began (after those two misfires, which donít count) with
Cinnamon Cookies. Cinnamon is a spice not typically
associated with cookies, except snickerdoodles, but it can
be a fine choice given the right circumstances.
right circumstance turns out to be lemon, or at least lemon
zest. A bit of lemon zest inside a flaky butter cookie
provides just the right background to bring the sugar and
cinnamon into delicious relief.
cookies have a delicate crunch and a subtle flavor, which is
what makes them so refined.
Froggers are bolder ó much bolder ó but they still seem
elegant because they benefit from a couple of clever
variations on a popular theme.
named for the man (Joe Brown) who invented them, Joe
Froggers begin with a basic ginger snap. But instead of a
moderate amount of molasses, this recipe really dumps the
molasses into it. And then it finds the perfect foil for all
that molasses, a healthy shot of dark rum.
you end up with is an enticing cookie with an inspired blend
of flavors: ginger, molasses and rum.
ever had Palmiers ó those light and effervescently flaky
rolled cookies made from puff pastry ó you might think
there was no way to improve upon them. Perfection is an
absolute, and all that.
local chef Jeffrey Deutsch has done the seemingly
impossible. First, he cuts back on the amount of sugar
specified in some recipes (Iím talking about you, Ina
Garten) or uses more than the amount suggested in others
(that would be you, Martha Stewart). But more significantly,
he tempers the sweetness of the sugar with two small lemonsí
worth of zest and goes one savory step further by adding a
hint of fresh thyme.
Palmiers? Wonderful. But Palmiers buoyed by the taste of
lemon and thyme? Spectacular.
the same line of taking a great cookie and making it better
is one of the favorite desserts we make for guests: Chewy
for these culinary marvels goes to the folks at Americaís
Test Kitchen, who dedicated themselves to discovering a
method to make sugar cookies crisp along the edge and chewy
in the center.
as I can tell, they achieved this long-desired mix of
textures by adding two ingredients to the traditional
recipe: cream cheese and vegetable oil. Cream cheese in
cookies makes them softer and more chewy. Oil makes them
crispy. Put them together and you wind up with cookies that
are somehow both at the same time.
important, they taste great. Better than great. Amazing,
I ended with cookies that are perhaps a bit more
down-to-earth than the others. With Granola Cookies, you
essentially make your own granola bar (oats, almonds,
walnuts, raisins and honey bound together with a lot of
butter and surprisingly little flour), and then you paint
them with melted white chocolate.
couldnít stop eating them. Once you eat one, youíll want
to eat another. And another. And another. And another.
cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon baking powder
cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still
cup vegetable oil
teaspoons vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350
degrees. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment
paper (if you donít have 3 baking sheets, you can reuse a
sheet). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda,
baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Place 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and cream cheese in a large
bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl or pie
plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream
cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream
cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil
until incorporated. Add egg, milk and vanilla; continue to
whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber
spatula until soft, homogeneous dough forms.
Form balls of dough about 2 tablespoons each (or use a No.
40 portion scoop). Working in batches, roll balls in
reserved sugar to coat and space evenly on prepared baking
sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using the bottom of a
drinking glass, flatten dough balls until they are 2 inches
in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with sugar remaining in
shallow dish, discarding any unused sugar.
Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just
beginning to brown, about 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7
minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes. Using wide
metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to
cookie: 111 calories; 5 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 12 mg
cholesterol; 1 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 10 g sugar; no
fiber; 71 mg sodium; 12 mg calcium.
by Americaís Test Kitchen
About 60 cookies
tablespoons (just over 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at
cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
cup light brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with
the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,
beat the butter, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the
granulated sugar, brown sugar and lemon zest together on
medium speed until the mixture becomes pale and fluffy. Add
the flour, baking powder and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon
and mix until combined. Then add the oil and water and mix
until fully combined.
Place the dough on plastic wrap and roll it into logs that
are 2 inches in diameter. Smaller logs are easier to work
with than one long one ó it may be helpful to use about a
baseball-sized portion of dough to form each log. Twist the
ends of the plastic wrap as you would to wrap a candy to
help you achieve an evenly round log. Freeze for about 2
hours or until the logs are chilled all the way through. You
can freeze the logs, well wrapped in plastic and stored in
an airtight container, for up to 1 month. Defrost frozen
logs before using, but be sure they are still chilled all
the way through.
a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup
granulated sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1
teaspoon cinnamon until well combined.
With a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/4-inch-thick
slices and arrange them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with
the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then bake for about 10 minutes
or until the cookies begin to pick up a little color along
the bottom edges. Remove cookies from the oven and let them
cool completely on the baking sheet or a cooling rack, then
store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up
to 1 week.
cookie: 55 calories; 3 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; 6 mg
cholesterol; 1 g protein; 7 g carbohydrate; 3 g sugar; no
fiber; 9 mg sodium; 10 mg calcium.
slightly adapted from "Payard Cookies" by Francois
Payard and Anne E. McBride
FROGGERS (GINGER RUM MOLASSES COOKIES)
36 to 48 cookies, depending on the size of the cutter
teaspoons ground ginger
teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoon baking soda
tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
cup vegetable shortening
cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
cup granulated sugar
tablespoons dark rum
sugar for decorating
Whisk the flour, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and baking
soda together. Set aside.
the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle
attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until
there are no visible lumps. Add both sugars and beat until
just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, add the molasses,
and beat until the mixture is uniform in color.
Prepare 1/3 cup very hot water. Add the flour mixture to the
butter mixture, alternating with the hot water, in three
parts, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape
down the bowl, add the rum, and mix for 15 seconds. Cover
the bowl and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with
parchment paper. Dust a work surface and a rolling pin with
a sprinkling of flour. Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch round.
Cut out the cookies with a 2- to 3-inch round cookie cutter
and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle a
tiny bit of coarse sugar onto each cookie.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until they are set (the cookies
will be chewier at 8 minutes, crispier at 12 minutes). Place
the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use a
spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack to cool
completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
cookie (based on 48): 100 calories; 2 g fat; 1 g saturated
fat; 3 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 19 g carbohydrate; 11 g
sugar; no fiber; 104 mg sodium; 22 mg calcium.
from "Baked Explorations; Classic American Desserts
Reinvented," by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
from 2 small lemons, chopped
teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
sheets puff pastry, thawed but still chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with
a bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar, lemon zest and thyme.
Spread 1/2 cup of this mixture onto a counter or other flat
surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto the mixture
(keep the other sheet in the refrigerator for the time
being) and spread 1/4 cup of the mixture on top of it,
covering the pastry evenly. With a rolling pin, roll the
dough into a 13-by-13-inch square, pressing the sugar
mixture into it on both sides.
Fold the sides of the square toward the center so they go
halfway to the middle (that is, they fold over to the 1/4
mark on both sides). Fold them again so the two folds meet
exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold one half over
on the other half, as though closing a book. You will have 6
Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices,
cut side up, on the prepared baking sheets. They will spread
while they cook, so leave an inch or two between them.
Lightly sprinkle the cut sides with a total of 1/2
tablespoon of the remaining sugar. Do not clean up the sugar
mixture that remains on the counter or flat surface.
Bake the cookies for 5 to 7 minutes until caramelized and
lightly brown on the bottom. Turn with a spatula and lightly
sprinkle the new sides facing up with 1/2 tablespoon of
sugar. Bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until caramelized on
the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.
2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture to the sugar that remains
on the counter or flat surface. Repeat the process with the
second sheet of puff pastry. You can prepare the second
group of cookies while the first one is baking.
cookie: 75 calories; 4 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; no
cholesterol; 1 g protein; 9 g carbohydrate; 5 g sugar; no
fiber; 26 mg sodium; 1 mg calcium.
by Jeffrey Deutsch, adapted from Ina Garten
tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
cups sliced almonds
cups powdered sugar
cup all-purpose flour
ounces white chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch glass
baking dish with nonstick spray, line it with parchment
paper, and spray it again.
a small pot, combine the butter, honey and the water over
medium-low heat, stirring a couple of times to ensure that
the butter and honey melt evenly without burning.
a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, walnuts,
raisins, confectionersí sugar and flour. Once the butter
and honey mixture is completely melted and hot, pour it over
the granola mixture and stir until fully combined. Work
fast; the dough will set quickly. Pour the dough into the
prepared dish and spread it out evenly with an offset
spatula. If the dough becomes hard to spread evenly, place
the dish in the oven; after 5 to 10 minutes the dough will
soften and youíll be able to just shake the dish to get
everything to even out.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the dough becomes light
brown. Remove from the oven immediately once it becomes
light brown to stop the cooking. Be careful not to overcook
the dough. Let the cookie cool completely in the dish.
Once the cookie has cooled, invert the dish over parchment
paper to remove the cookie. Use an offset spatula to spread
a thin layer of melted white chocolate across the bottom in
an even and flat layer. Let the cookie set in a cool, dry
Once the cookie is firm, place it on a cutting board. With a
large chefís knife, cut the cookie into 1 1/2-by-2-inch
bars. Store cookies in an air-tight container in a cool, dry
place for up to 1 week, with parchment paper between each
layer to keep the cookies from sticking.
cookie: 210 calories; 11 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 13 mg
cholesterol; 3 g protein; 27 g carbohydrate; 20 g sugar; 2 g
fiber; 7 mg sodium; 27 mg calcium.
slightly adapted from "Payard Cookies," by
Francois Payard with Anne E. McBride