Give me your best cookie recipes (pretty please)!
November 26, 2014 5:49 PM   Subscribe

I need elegant but relatively uncomplicated cookie recipes (yes, just cookies: I don't have any cupcake tins at present; not inspired right now to bake a pie or cake, either - however I am open to sweet bread loaves like chocolate pumpkin bread*) that I can make with what I *already* have in the pantry/fridge, and can whip up either tonight or tomorrow morning before Thanksgiving festivities. Pantry contents inside.

*BUT I've already done chocolate pumpkin bread and would like to do something new.

What I have in my pantry and my fridge (that is relevant for baking, anyway):

- White flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, cornmeal
- Baking powder, baking soda
- White granular sugar, and light brown sugar
- Walnuts (shelled) - about a cup's worth
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Shredded coconut
- 2 cans of pumpkin
- Some left over, still fresh, high quality imported balsalmic vinegars (maybe a 1/4 cup left of blackberry ginger balsalmic vinegar; 2 cups straight balsalmic vinegar, 1/2 cup mango white balsalmic vinegar)
- High end (and some low end) olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil
- Shortening
- Rose water (unopened bottle)
- Lavender blossoms, dried for culinary use
- Fresh cardamom pods
- All the other standard baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, apple and pie spice mixes) and wide variety of others that might be unexpected but pleasant in a cookie (saffron? smoked paprika?)
- Vanilla bean pods
- Vanilla extract, orange extract, almond extract, peppermint extract
- Cream of tartar
- Cinnamon sticks
- 1 can Sweetened condensed milk
- Sea salt (ground)
- French grey sea salt (coarse)
- Whole peppercorns
- Half of a standard size container of Nutella
- Black, green, and herbal teas
- Pretzel sticks
- Quick oats (no slow oats that I could find tonight...)
- Golden raisins
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Wheat germ
- Vanilla protein powder
- Half a bottle of leftover Merlot from last evening, that I would consider donating to the baking cause if it was warranted
- Jameson Irish whiskey, bourbon (the good stuff), Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Campari, cognac (spiced), creme de menthe (clear, not green)
- Grenadine, simple syrup, bitters

- 1/2 dozen eggs
- Half and half
- Flax seed milk (unflavored/unsweetened)
- Unsalted butter
- Margarine
- Almond butter
- Natural peanut butter
- 1 15 oz container of whole milk ricotta cheese
- About 4 limes and 4 lemons
- New, unopened jar of quality apricot jam
- Several fresh macintosh apples
- Jalapeno peppers
- A lot of aged cheeses

- A conventional oven with cookie sheets, bread pans, a pie/cake pan
- Halogen stove top
- Cast iron skillet
- Kitchenaid mixer with the three standard attachments
- Parchment paper/aluminum foil
- All the standard kitchen knives/cutting boards/general kitchen tools
- A food thermometer
- Zesters, graters
- Silicone 'brush' for brushing on melted butter, egg washes, etc
- A stovetop smoker
- A mid-size Cuisnart food processor

- Confectioners sugar, cream cheese, or most things you can make frosting with (so frosting is out, unless someone knows how to make great non-sloppy frosting with what I have... is there a ricotta hack for this???)
- Given the above, also not in a position to make any whipped cream by hand
- White wine or champagne - only very dry and bold red wines, and some homebrew IPAs (plus the abovementioned liquor/liqueurs)
- I *don't* have a flour sifter but I know a few ways to DIY this with success
- A food scale
- An outdoor grill (I live in an apartment)
- A blender (yes, I know, I know, but the last one broke and I haven't replaced it yet - only the food processor for now)

I'm open to all suggestions, but I've already decided I don't want to do any lemon ricotta cookies. One because I don't have what I need to make the glaze, and two because I just don't want to do any lemon-dominant cookies. Would LOVE good ricotta (or shortening-instead-of-butter) based cookies that go beyond citrus.

(Oh, and no food allergies to speak of. My sister hates nuts but I'll make sure hers don't have 'em).

Thank you!
posted by nightrecordings to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: P.S. I also have a huge, extra kombucha scoby I need to get rid of before it takes over my entire kombucha brew jar - my boyfriend is opposed to using it to cook, but if anyone has a badass cookie recipe that uses kombucha scoby, I'm game... !
posted by nightrecordings at 5:57 PM on November 26, 2014

Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies (from Cook's Illustrated originally). They are amazing, tons of compliments and tons of people trying to guess what makes them taste so good--when it's all stuff that most people have in their pantry. The only thing I do differently is use two eggs instead of an egg plus a yolk. (Also if you have some molasses or a dark honey you could amp up your light brown sugar, I usually get the dark brown, but it will be good either way.)
posted by anaelith at 6:08 PM on November 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

I don't have a specific recipe in mind, but some sort of spice cookie should be feasible. Of course you probably already know you have all the ingredients for classic chocolate chip cookies as well (but are going more elegant).

I don't have the time right now but I'd recommend you start by picking out specific flavor combinations that would be enjoyable and appropriately elegant and then start googling for inspiration. You can also go to and do an ingredient search for cookie recipes that don't include powdered sugar or cream cheese.
posted by Lady Li at 6:08 PM on November 26, 2014

Here's how you can make buttercream frosting: use this (amazing) recipe, and use your food processor to turn granulated sugar into powdered sugar. It worked marvelously in my Vitamix.

Or a simple sugar frosting (though I would use butter instead of shortening, it has a better flavor though does come out a bit yellow).
posted by DoubleLune at 6:08 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

* carries laptop over next to the bookshelf of one hundred cookbooks, pulls up chair and sits down *

Two options leap to mind; they both have nuts, but in one case they're ground in and it's not as noticeable. One looks fancy but is still low-effort; I've made them loads of times and they're good. The other is a little more "rustic", but still sounds good.

For the first one (Walnut Acorns), you need:

2 sticks of unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

Melt together the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes. While it cools, combine flour, baking powder and 3/4 cup of the walnuts. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture.

Pinch off lumps of dough, about a tablespoon in size, and use the bowl of a spoon to mold them into rounded oval shapes. Space the mounds 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 or 15 minutes at 350; do not overbake. Remove to rack and let cool.

When the cookies are cool, finely chop the other cup of walnuts and set aside. Melt the chocolate chips in a second bowl. Dip half of each cookie into the melted chocolate, and then into the nuts. Set aside onto a piece of wax paper to let the chocolate harden and cool.


This next one is out of one of the cookbooks released by the BAKED bakery here in Brooklyn.


2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips

Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, pumpkin, and vanilla and blend. Add half the dry ingredients and mix in; add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again a few more seconds. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips. Cover the bowl and refrigerate 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use an ice cream scoop, or a big spoon, to scoop out 2-tablespoon size balls of dough into the baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 14-18 minutes, rotating the sheets about halfway through baking time, until the cookies begin to brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Best eaten when dunked into a hot beverage, but fine just as they are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and you can totally make your own powdered sugar by just running regular sugar through a blender or food processor. It's an equal exchange (1 cup granulated = 1 cup powder; no volume lost in the powdering process, apparently).

And if you want to do that, give these caramel apple cookies a shot. (I made them in the past and left the nuts out and they turned out great.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2014

Earl Grey shortbread cookies are my go-to crazy simple, crazy easy recipe. It uses powdered sugar but as it's not an especially fancy pastry, I think the sub mentioned above would work. The rosewater and cardamon would be nice added to any standard basic cookie.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:00 PM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Quick oats will probably work in my favorite cookie recipe.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:31 PM on November 26, 2014


Flour (AP or bread) : butter (unsalted) : sugar (white)

Mix until sandy, make into whatever shapes you like but no more than 1cm/1/2" thick, bake at 325 until done but not coloured. Enjoy.

Add whatever flavourings you like--lavender, orange zest +black pepper, thyme...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:01 PM on November 26, 2014

Oh! I am probably too late, but I think you have everything you need for these easy flourless peanut butter & chocolate cookies. I've made them even if I haven't had enough of various items and they're always amazing. Hope you found something good to make.
posted by symphonicknot at 5:53 PM on November 27, 2014

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