There might not be an easier cookie for changing, dressing up or down, or adding to than a basic shortbread cookie. When it’s Christmas and I need a new cookie, I often give shortbread the nod for just that reason — and because I love it so. What’s not to love? There are few (5) ingredients that go together with no special work or instructions. Chilling time? Sure, but it’s 30 minutes compared to 2 hours for sugar cookies. And shortbread can taste better than sugar cookies, can’t it? Of course it can and it’s perfect with a wee dram some chilly dark night, in case you didn’t know. And thank God it’s getting chilly again.
This week, needing a last cookie to round out a cookie tray for a Friday-night party, I thought I’d make one of my favorite shortbreads. But which one was it? Lemon came to mind, but I’ve only ever done lemon shortbread bars. A fluted cookie sounded right and I knew just the recipe to grab, wrestle with briefly, and know I’d come out with a top-shelf Lemon Shortbread Cookie. I added the word “Barely” to the title as it’s not overly lemon-y. Just enough to still love the shortbread all the while feeling quite happy from the little lemon buzz. Is there anything better than lemon and butter?
If there’s anything that fills up a cookie jar better than a batch of buttery-crunchy oatmeal cookies, I don’t know what it is. Look up the lists of America’s favorite cookies — and there are a few — and oatmeal, or at least oatmeal-raisin, comes up right near the tippy-top. You know chocolate chip comes in first, but we’re not going there today. We’re talking oatmeal here.
There’s no doubt it’s a blog record to post three cranberry recipes in a row and I promise you it not only wasn’t planned, I had little idea it had happened until this morning. Perhaps cranberries were on the brain, on sale, or in my heart, but I don’t think so though I adore them unabashedly. Just an oh-so-odd coincidence. Right then.
You will never walk into my house to findme without cookies. If they’re not sitting there in plain sight, they’ll be found in the door of the freezer frozen and ready for the exact moment when the ice cold glass of milk is poured. This is, after all, Colorado, where cookies turn into hockey pucks 30 minutes after they’ve hit the cooling rack. I’m not particularly a cookie monster, but those of you who know him well recognize I’m married to one. And one truth I’ll share is this: I love to bake cookies. There’s a sweet comfort to the rhythm and rhyme of beating up butter and sugar, a zen atmosphere when time is suspended as they bake (I can’t answer the phone/let the cat in/check your homework; I’m baking cookies), and the perfect control I exhibit when they’re cooling (I’ll will slap your hand with this wooden spoon if you grab one while they’re still that hot. They must set, for God’s sake.)
Each December for the last several years, I’ve dreamed up a Christmas cookie for the blog. This time, I might have found my very favorite–just in time for your weekend last-minute baking. “Peaknut” Crinklesare a twist on the always-favorite Chocolate Crinkles so often made at holiday time.
My own crinkle recipe– pictured above–and this is a riff on that– is one I’ve made for years and I have no idea from whence it came. More than once, I’ve really searched to discover its provenance, but the crinkle recipes I find are not like mine and so I have no idea. Thanks to that cookie baker I’ve never found!! Now, just so you know: the difference between “my” recipe and the others is this: mine uses melted chocolate and ALSO chocolate chips; every other one I locate is made with only cocoa. So. “My” Chocolate Crinkle Recipe.
When you’re looking for food to fit specific diets or food preferences and you’re not used to cooking or baking those profiles, it’s best or easiest, anyway, to pick dishes that are naturally gluten free, for instance, or come perfectly vegan all by themselves, for another. Extra-Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème is a simple, happy dessert for a gluten free eater. No flour to replace there. Sumptuous summer strawberries and raspberries glistening with finely minced mint fills the bill for vegans, I’m thinking, because who doesn’t like strawberries and raspberries?
While I love to bake, it was once much more of a passion than it istoday. I think baking provided a sense of accomplishment — a finished product, if you will — that cooking didn’t seem to. (But does now.) Do you consider yourself a baker or a cook? Or both?
For anyone with Scots background, shortbread is the Christmas cookie. In whatever “shape or form”, to quote my Dad, it might come. It also happens to be my very favorite cookie of any season and you can find it on the blog in a few incarnations... The endless variations are a large part of its intrinsic attraction for this baker:
Whenever I run into savory little cheese cookies someone’s served with a glass of wine, I’m happy indeed. These days, they’re usually they’re made with Parmigiano-Reggiano, but older food memories include homemade crispy little cheddar crackers that were just as good with beer as with wine. Back in the day, these were called “Cheese Pennies” and while they were usually simply round, occasionally a creative baker would even roll them out and cut them out into shapes (suits, of course) for bridge club.
Things that grow together go together
is the saying–Cheddar and Beer being two things the British do very well and Parmigiano-Reggiano and Wine being two things the Italians do just superbly. So, whichever way you roll –to coin a phrase –these savory bits are luscious.
Checking through my top choice cookbooksfor such recipes (and tooling around the internet, of course) showed me there’re just as many varieties of not-sweet cookies as there are baking (or other) books on my cookbook shelves.