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.]