I am, and always have been, a cookie person. I'm happiest
when there's a nearly-full cookie box or jar somewhere in the
kitchen, just waiting for me to have an excuse: a story filed, a
disagreeable chore completed, or just plain "lunch dessert".
A cookie doesn't make you feel as guilty as a big juicy slab
of pie, or a dense wedge of cake. It's just a cookie - sweet,
perfect, and of short duration.
The difficulty at this time of
year is deciding which of my many, many favorite cookies will get
my attention. Last year, it was all star cookies, of which my perennial favorite
(and the one I always make time to make) is La Befana, the sprinkle star from Gina
Italiano, which has never once let me down.
If I've really got my ducks in a row, I might have time to make
stroopwafels, which require a bit of careful
timing and keeping your wits about you so you don't burn yourself
on the waffle iron. You also have to eat them while they're warm
and still pliant, but that's the least of our problems.
My husband's favorite cookie -
and one I'm also crazy about - is the
double dark chocolate cherry cookie from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. He makes
giant double batches with jumbo bags of chips and cherries from
Costco, and he gives them out to his students. But there's
always some left over for the rest of us.
This year around Thanksgiving, I discovered another favorite
cookie - The "Ischler" - from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Baking
Bible. It's a sandwich cookie filled with apricot
preserves and ganache, and I think it will be my Death Row request
cookie if I ever find myself in that situation.
While I've been dreaming about cookies, my cousin Barbara and my
aunt Mimi have been making them. We got an incredible package this
week in the mail, overflowing with little meringues and wrapped
truffles and, best of all, crisp pecan sand tarts. Barbara
says these are the Joy of Cooking sand tarts, which
means now I have another cookie to add to my Try list. My
plan is to use them for this year's reindeer cookies - oh, I forgot
- that's another favorite, but mostly because we get to practice
our royal icing technique on them.
My long-term ambition is to someday get all these cookies done
early enough to mail them to friends and family, the way Barbara
does. But for now, it's just one more thing I'll be dreaming
about. What's your cookie of choice?