Cookie Time

Empty Cookie Bowl

Empty Cookie Bowl

Some poor people are still working, still taking finals, still writing papers - and our heart goes out to them. We know they would rather be baking cookies, or at least looking at cookie recipes, which is half the fun. Here are some excellent places to look.

Julia Moskin wrote "Butter Holds the Secret to Cookies that Sing" in the New York Times yesterday, and it is the most forwarded article in the Times today. Most important point: butter needs to stay at around 65 degrees Fahrenheit to produce the best cookies. Moskin includes a handful of buttery-good recipes with this story, including one for Buttery French TV Snacks (Croq-Télé). This is a revelation: I didn't know the French watched TV, and certainly didn't know they ate snacks while watching TV. Watch out for the end of the French Paradox.

Moskin's article includes the observation that we don't make cookies often, and so are somewhat surprised at our failures during the holidays. NPR today consulted with a food chemist, Shirley Corriher, in "Chemist Divulges How to Bake the Perfect Cookie." (Apparently a concern for cookie success is a strong theme this year, at least in the media.) Corriher is author of a new book, Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking. Honestly,I was unsure I agreed with some of her advice about protein content in flour as it affects cookies, but as she explained in more detail the ways chilling and resting dough work against the toughening protein while still helping a cookie hold its struture, I learned something and stopped being a Cookie Monster.

One of my unpaid, perceptive, eagle-eyed recipe scouts sent a link recently to a wonderful cookie story in the Washington Post. I don't often include links to the Post here, because accessing the stories requires registration. I can report, though, that the registration is easy, free, and painless. And maybe you will decide it's not a bad time to read Washington-based news.

Here's the link to the Post's Holiday Cookie Guide. I like the way the Post presents the 25 recipes in this guide. I like the fact that each recipe seems real and workable. I like the fact that some of the cookies meet special dietary interests (low fat, gluten-free). Most of all, I like the inclusion of a savory cookie in the mix. Cookie number 24 is "Savory Pecan, Parmesan, and Thyme Shortbread."