Cookies for Dessert

Here’s how I attack an impending dinner party: (1) I make dessert first; (2) I make/start the entree second; and (3) I make the salad and/or appetizers last so that when the guests arrive, the salad has only just been dressed and/or the appetizers are hot out of the oven. Recently, though, I made a discovery that makes all of this a little bit easier: that discovery is cookie dough.

Yes, I’ve discovered that instead of making a lavish dessert at the beginning–something that might take a few hours of your time–you can whip up some cookie dough, put it in the refrigerator, and at the end of the meal, when your guests are discreetly looking around, trying to suss out what you’ve made for dessert, you crank the oven up to 350, take the cookie dough out of the fridge, scoop the dough into mounds on a cookie sheet and 15 minutes later you have hot, fresh-from-the-oven cookies that your guests will go mad over.

I did this last week when Craig’s friend Kristen came to dinner.


I made Martha Stewart’s butterscotch cookies with white chocolate from her Baking Book–well, I made the dough, put it in the fridge, and then started boiling water for my all-time favorite quick pasta recipe: Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.


While the water was coming to a boil (I use an outrageously large pot), I assembled this wintry salad since I didn’t have time to gather any springy ingredients at the farmer’s market. It has fennel, apple, celery, lemon zest, lemon juice, and golden raisins and everyone loves it:


But the hot cookies for dessert hit the ball out of the park. Think about it: what smell makes you giddier than the smell of fresh cookies baking in the oven? Nothing, I tell you, nothing. So next time you have a dinner party, make some cookie dough, put it in the fridge, and get ready to wow your guests at the end. They won’t even know what hit them.

[In case you need a cookie recipe, try The Best Cookies of Your Life Chocolate Chip Cookies. I still make them all the time and they’re the best, I don’t care what Meg says.]

15 thoughts on “Cookies for Dessert”

  1. Those cookies look yummy! When we have a dinner party I ALWAYS plan a great dessert and great appitizers. In my way of thinking–WOW them with a great beginning and a great ending and I don’t stress over the actual dinner. Weird yeah but for me it works, the less I stress over the dinner the better it turns out.Sooooooooo whatever floats ones boat…..

  2. Great idea AG. I do this a lot, especially in winter, and serve a warm dessert – like chocolate molten cakes in ramekins or Nigella’s easy sticky toffee pudding (a must!). However, I make it even easier and scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and store it in the fridge that way. Nothing to do when guests are there but pop it in the oven.

  3. Now if you could just get the recipe for the WORLD PEACE COOKIE from The Pantry in Fairfield, CT. Unbelievable chocolate cookie (soft inside, a bit crunchy on the out) and sprinkled with a wee bit of coarse salt on the top (you won’t believe how amazing the sweet/salty thing together is!)Take the train to Fairfield, it’s a 2 min. walk from there, right on the Post Road.

    I truly believe if everyone was given this cookie there would be WORLD PEACE!

    And Adam, if you come to Fairfield… let me know!

  4. LisainCT, the world peace cookies you describe sound just like Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies. The recipe is all over the internet. They are great cookies, and have that bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Maybe it’s the same recipe?

  5. Excellent use of the verb “suss”! And great time management. Bread pudding is a great dessert to do this way too.

  6. Hi Adam! I found your blog about a month ago and enjoy it a lot. I tried to click on the link to your post for “the best cookies of your life” but every time I do your food network banner is superimposed over the recipe. Am I doing something wrong? Is the recipe no longer available? I can see part of it…so close and yet so far. ( : Thanks! Lisa

  7. Thanks for the tip!!!!! What a great idea, to just refrigerate the though, then serve it. =) And that cookie recipe ROCKS!

  8. Found this recipe yesterday and just had to try it…I am no good at delayed gratification, mind you. You will not be disappointed, these cookies are amazing, and so easy to make!

  9. Brilliant, can take it 1 step further by scooping the dough, freezing the lumps on a cookie sheet and popping them into a freezer bag when firm. No need to thaw when baking-just allot for 4-5 extra minutes in the baking!

  10. I can personally attest that the homemade cookies were the smashing ending to a perfect dinner. I was visiting from Seattle, and Adam’s home-cooked dinner and dessert was just what I needed! Plus, Adam was sweet enough to pack extra cookies in foil for me to take back to my hotel. Those cookies helped sustain me through the halls of the Natural History Museum and the lawns of Central Park. Thanks Adam!

  11. For Shirlie,

    Oh my goodness, I think you’re right! I can’t thank you enough if this is the same cookie.


  12. I LOVE the skiing plate under the salad! Where is it from? Can I get some?

    Just imagining a warm-oven-mitt massage has me in a puddle on the floor!

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