Lucy’s Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies + Momofuku Milk Bar Cookies

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I care about you, readers, and I don’t want you to go through this weekend without cookies. Everyone deserves cookies, especially on the weekend.

The cookies I’m going to tell you about may already be familiar to you. The first, Lucy’s Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies, were cookies I told you about in December. Remember I went to a cookie party? And how I was assigned Pfeffernussen? And how my Pfeffernussen were a bit tough and unwieldy, but how the best cookies at the party–salty chocolate peanut butter cookies–were so good I tracked down the recipe for you? Well now I’ve made those cookies myself and they are still mind-bogglingly good.

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Pfeffernussen, Orange Sables & The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie of Your Dreams

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The Baking Bug isn’t a ladybug, it’s a wasp: once it stings you, you’ve been stung.

Such has been the case with my friend Josh Hume, director of my show on Food2 and a recent convert to the world of baking. He loves it. He calls himself Man Martha because of his love for Martha Stewart’s recipes and, most recently, he represented me at a Bon Appetit Magazine blogger bake-off. (Check out his bouche!) It’s no surprise, then, that Josh approached holiday baking this year with a fervor; not only did he bake cakes for several friends’ birthday parties (big, elaborate cakes) but he planned an enormous Christmas cookie exchange and assigned each person a different cookie to bring. My assignment? Pfeffernussen.

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“Baked” Oatmeal Cookies with Cardamom

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The title of this post is a misrepresentation: the recipe I’m about to share does not advertise the fact that it contains cardamom. In fact, the recipe–from my new favorite baking book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking–is titled “Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies,” a title that doesn’t mention cardamom at all.

But cardamom was what caught my eye as I decided to make these cookies for dessert last week at 11 PM; so much so, that I didn’t even stop when I realized I didn’t have nuts or dried cherries. Cardamom would carry the day and carry the day it did.

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Weekend Baking: Crispy Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

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This is baking weather, peoples. What better on a chilly day than to fill the apartment/house/shack with the smell of something baking in the oven? Nothing better, I say, nothing.

Last weekend I had you make a chocolate cake and many of you came through; but this time I bet even more of you will join in. Why? Because those cookies you see above are maddeningly awesome; they come from the brilliant Smitten Kitchen website (seriously, is there a prettier website alive?) and the cookies are, to quote Michael Jackson, devilishly good. Let me put it in pretentious foodie terms: the salinity of the salt plays off the sweetness of the white chocolate, and the oats create a texture that is substantive without being heavy. And I took ’em out a bit early so they were actually pretty chewy (which I like) not so much crispy. So I guess you could call ’em “Deb’s Chewy Crispy Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies” but that’d be a mouthful.

Your assignment: make the cookies. Here’s the recipe: the recipe. Take a picture of yourself or your loved ones with the finished cookies and upload the pictures to the Amateur Gourmet Photo Group on Flickr and prepare to see yourself on the blog on Monday. Millions of people will ogle you and talk about how sexy you are and how much they love your cookies. What could be better?

Have a salty, chewy, white chocolate-filled weekend.

Cookie Secrets

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This is the best batch of chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made and I attribute its success to two things: an ice-cream scoop and Diana’s cookie sheets. And maybe a 400 degree oven.

We did The Martha Stewart recipe again (still the best recipe I know) and we were nervous because even though the first time was such a success, subsequent batches have been inconsistent. Mostly, the cookies sometimes come out too puffy, or not flat and crispy enough. (We love them flat and crispy but still chewy on the inside, hot out of the oven.)

Here’s why I think this most recent batch came out the best:

– I just bought an ice cream scoop with an ice-cream release button that allows you to scoop out perfect mounds of cookie dough and plop them perfectly on to the sheet. Why is that good? Well for some reason the mounds of dough the ice cream scoop creates are the ideal shape for making flat, crispy, chewy-on the inside cookies. And every cookie comes out the same so consistency is king.

– Diana’s cookie sheets have a name, but she’s asleep and I don’t remember what it is. But they are flat without sides and they conduct heat better than my high-sided sheets. I think her cookie sheets played a serious role in making these cookies truly excellent.

– The last theory concerns the oven temperature. The recipe calls for a 375 oven but after placing my own oven thermometer into the oven I got a reading of 350 when it was set for 375. So I upped the temp to 400 which yielded a reading of 375 on my own thermometer. But here’s the thing: my own thermometer is all busted up. It’s got a layer of rust on it and when it’s not in the oven, it says it’s 300 degrees. How can it be 300 degrees on my kitchen counter? So there’s a very real possibility that I cooked these cookies at 400 degrees, which may account for their glorious crispness and flatness and perfectness.

And those are some secrets from a brilliant batch of cookies.

The Best Cookies Of Your Life

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Diana and I are in love. No, not with each other, but with these chocolate chip cookies, our first apartment baking project that won raves from everyone who tried them. “These are seriously the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made,” said Diana. “These cookies are so good,” said Craig. “Meow,” said Lolita.

Of course, these cookies come to us from Our Lady of All Things Perfection, Miss Martha Stewart and her latest (and seriously awesome, in the Biblical sense) baking book: “Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.” As she says in the recipe’s introduction, this recipe has a higher butter to sugar ratio which makes the cookies thin and crisper. When I was younger and more naive that description would’ve turned me off from a recipe: I like my cookies chewy. But the thing is, if you make them well, they come out chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside. These cookies resemble professional cookies more than any other I’ve made. And maybe, if you don’t tell anyone, I’ll post the recipe after the jump. JUST DON’T TELL ANYONE!

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Where Did He Get The Recipe? (Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies)

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There are two things I like to do when I get back from a trip:

(1) Eat a burrito;

(2) Bake something.

When Craig and I got back from D.C. last week, I led him along to the same destination I headed to when I returned from Paris last winter: Chipolte. Nothing hits the spot after a long day of traveling like a big, fat, oozing burrito—even it is from a company owned by McDonald’s. (Boy, Ray Croc must be smiling on this website lately.) Yes, we each got a burrito—mine with chicken, black beans, sour cream and salsa; Craig’s with cheese—took them home and watched TV.

Then when TV grew boring I got a hankering to bake.

“Aren’t you tired?” asked Craig.

“Nope,” I said zipping off to the kitchen.

And in that kitchen I threw together the cookies you see above—Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies, my first time making them. The smell was heavenly—buttery, sweet, comforting—and the taste was smooth and soft, like a newborn baby. In fact a newborn baby was one of the ingredients.

Because I made so many cookies and I didn’t want to get fat (ha! too late for that!), I gave Craig a bag to take home for his roommate. Craig later reported that the roommate loved these cookies. “She wanted to know where you got the recipe.”

And that my friends is what I’m here to divulge. Are you ready? Write this down. The recipe comes from the side of the butterscotch chip bag. Buy butterscotch chips and you’ll have the recipe. But in case you don’t live anywhere that sells bags of butterscotch chips, I’ll type it out for you. Please enjoy the next time you return from a trip:

Oatmeal Scotchies

[from the side of the Nestle Butterscotch Morsels Bag]

[this makes 4 dozen cookies; you can halve it, like I did, and make it 2 dozen]

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange

3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

1 2/3 cups (11 oz. package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies; 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Rocky Macaroon

[sung to the tune of that Beatles song]

Now somewhere in the black mountain hills of Hawaii

there’s a company called Dr. Paulo’s

and one day an e-mail came that took guts

it said: “We’re gonna send you some nuts [and coffee]

How’d you like that boy?”

So I said, “Sure send it”

and I waited for the mail

and it arrived real soon.

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Now most macaroons

Have coconut blooms

And rarely involve macadamias

But this recipe here

Is truly sincere

When it says you should use macadamias.* [*lazy rhyming alert!]

Macadamias add crunch

and I have a hunch

that they may very well be nutritious.

I opened the bag

and a nut I did snag

and the taste was truly delicious.

But say it ain’t so

They’re salty, no no

and the recipe says use nuts that are salt-less.

So the bag went away

and I started to pray

“Dear God I believe I am faultless.”

Then God just replied:

“Son step aside.”

And I collapsed in the corner.

[Piano solo while God does all the work.]

[God toasts the coconut.]

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[God combines condensed milk and vanilla.]

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[God whips egg whites.]

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[God combines everything.]

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[God spoons them out.]

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[God places them in the oven, bakes them and removes them.]

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[Thanks, God!]

Now the cookies are done

And won’t it be fun

to dip each one in some chocolate

We’ll melt down some chips

and dunk til it drips

and people will say, “Mmm, there’s chocolate*.” [*Lazy rhyme #2!]

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Now my macaroons

cause orgasmic swoons

just like they did in the Bible.

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Plus the nuts are still here

I’ll drink them with beer

The coffee will help with my revival. Yah!

[Piano music, fade out. Cue Ringo.]