As has been our custom for about 5 years now, my sibs and I exchange cookies at the holidays rather than shop for store-bought gifts. These Pecan Sandies were the hands down favorite of the three different cookies we baked and shipped this year. While not exactly a “holiday cookie” by the strictest definition (no cute cut-out shapes or colored icing), these easy to make treats elegantly blend-in with the more traditional spritz or gingerbread cookies that adorn most holiday dessert tables. A sprinkle of crystal sugar lend them a little holiday flare without making them overly sweet, and their tender, shortbread richness will have your guests begging you for the recipe.
Cookies + Bars
Hey gang, I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but its taken me a few weeks to get my schedule organized after starting my new job to where I’ve been able to put some time aside for Oui, Chef. It turns out that I started at America’s Test Kitchen at the very busiest time of year, with everyone scrambling to get ahead on their magazine or cookbook work before much of the month of May is lost to filming the ATK television series. As such, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with some work that I otherwise might have had to wait months to try, and while in many ways its been cool, its also been a little overwhelming.
Just a quick post today as I have such a busy weekend what with the Easter holiday AND a family birthday to shop-plan-cook for, but it’s been a while since I posted and I’m anxious to check in with you all.
First, I had a GREAT week working my new gig at America’s Test Kitchen. Everyone I’ve met, and especially my teammates at Cook’s Illustrated have been awesome. They’ve been incredibly helpful, welcoming and PATIENT as I work to quickly learn the ropes and become a fully contributing member of the team. After a few days of HR and IT “new hire” stuff I was in the kitchen getting started on two new recipes I’m developing. I’ve got a ton to learn, but I’m already having a blast in the mix with some seriously talented cooks. So fun!
These are a slight twist on some cookies I made a couple of years back that I pitched as a perfect breakfast treat.
I know, cookies for breakfast….what could be better, huh? Especially if you’ve got kids. I mean can you imagine the love that will be flowing your way when you tell them you’ve made them cookies for breakfast?
The latest issue of Bon Appétit Magazine had a feature on how to make all sorts of different energy bars from scratch, and of the half-dozen or so that they shared, this one struck me as the one to give a try. I think it mostly had to do with the binder made from tart cherries, rice syrup and salt (YUM!), but it also could have been that I have 3 different bags of quinoa in my pantry just screaming for redemption. Whatever the reason, I’m quite happy to have made these.
I made a bunch of these little darlings early in the holiday season and kept them in my fridge as a little sweet insurance in the event of impromptu visitors. That’s one of the things I love about the holiday season, people just popping by for a cup (or four) of cheer, perhaps dropping by some treats, but usually just pausing for a bit to say hi and “where the hell did that year go?”.
When I was but a wee lad my favorite store-bought snacks were Oreos (and this was long before any of that Double-Stuff business), and Drake’s Funny Bones. While Oreos in a multitude of varieties are still with us, sadly, Drake’s the makers of Yodels, Ring Dings, and Devil Dogs stopped producing my childhood addiction years ago. Everyone knows what an Oreo is, but for those who’ve never heard of Funny Bones, they were sort of like a chocolate Twinkie that had been filled with peanut butter cream, then dipped in melted milk chocolate.
To be honest, if I had one now I’d probably gag on it due to its overt sweetness and weak, milk chocolate flavor (I am decidedly a dark chocolate kinda guy), but as I kid….I gotta tell you, they were the bomb!
Alas we have come to the third and final cookie I made for this year's holiday swap, and I'll have you know that this one was the clear winner among all voters under the age of 20 in my giving universe. My original plan was to make a peanut butter filled version of Thomas Keller's TKO's (his version of an oreo) as the 3rd cookie in my trio, but when I saw these little monsters posted by my friend, Sally, on her terrific food blog Bewitching Kitchen. One look at her post and I knew that these would be a hands-down winner with the kids, while also being a bit more holiday-ish in feel. In addition, I figured they'd survive shipping better than the relatively fragile TKO sandwich cookie.
Today I present to you MY second favorite cookie of the three I made this year to satisfy the requirements of our family holiday cookie swap. I emphasise the MY in the prior sentence, because by most accounts the cookie I will be sharing next, a mint-chocolate offering, was the runaway winner of the popularity contest this year; but as I've stated here before, my being one of the very few folks on the planet not enamored of the combo of chocolate and mint, those cookies fell to a distant third place in my personal ranking of this year's cookies.
It's time once again to share some of the sweet holiday treats that I baked up for what is now our 3rd Annual Dunn Sibling Holiday Cookie Swap. Per my brother's recommendation a couple years back, he and I and our sister (along with a few other select invitees) have exchanged holiday cookies to commemorate the season now that we've all reached the point in our lives where we need absolutely NOTHING in the way of traditional Christmas gifts, and our kids, poor deprived things, have so much that they can no longer even generate a Christmas wish list, let alone come up with a request for things they may actually need.