All I want for Christmas is the recipe for this mystery delicious cookie
November 23, 2018 7:17 PM   Subscribe

I'm working from memory here. These thin, crispy homemade cookies were packed in a cookie tin and given as a Christmas gift in Boston, MA about 5 to 6 years ago. I don't know who made the cookies and have no way of finding out.

Here's what I remember:

It was a flat, crispy, square-ish cookie. About 2" by 1 3/4" and very thin -- 1/8" at the most.

The texture was smooth and even and very crispy. More along the lines of a shattering crunch as opposed to crumbling. The surface was even, so nothing like a rumpled chocolate chip or dimpled oatmeal cookie. I wouldn't be surprised if they were slice-and-bake from a rolled log of dough.

The flavor I recall is toffee or brown sugar, a well-caramelized sugar and butter flavor. But not overly sweet.

There were red and green bits in the cookie. No nuts. At first I thought the bits might be the "stained glass" a/k/a "window pane" effect from melted hard candy. But I remember thinking they weren't the right texture for that, and the size of the bits lined up with the size of the candied/glazed red and green cherries used in fruitcake. The cookies were sliced so thin that I don't recall the texture and flavor from these bits being discernible from the cookie itself.

The cookies were not decorated in any way. They looked plain but in a "grown up" or sophisticated way, if that makes sense. They looked old-fashioned, like they would be at home on a plate of my austere German grandmother's plain butter cookies and thumb-print jam cookies.

They looked nothing like Cherry Christmas Slices. The size and non-chocolate part of this Easy Ribbon Cookie with Candied Cherries remind me of the mystery cookie, but the ones I had were darker.

It's been over 5 years and these cookies haunt me still...
posted by Majorita to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like a variety of Florentine cookie made with cherries. That's my best guess as a cookie aficionado.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:03 PM on November 23, 2018

Found an example Florentine
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:10 PM on November 23, 2018

The only thing that doesn't fit the description of the Florentine is the perfectly smooth texture. As you can see in Green Eyed Monster's picture, they aren't flat, even where the delicious bits aren't. (Also I've never seen a square Florentine, but I don't imagine they're physically impossible.)

Are you still in Boston? Get on the Red Line to Harvard Square. Take the main exit. Cross JFK and enter Cardullo's. There will be a deli counter immediately to your right, and a person behind it. Say, "Could I get a Florentine, please?" Theirs generally are dipped in chocolate on one side but you should be able to tell pretty quickly whether they're the type you're thinking of.

(Even if they're not, they're damned tasty so the $1.50 or so won't be wasted.)
posted by praemunire at 11:07 PM on November 23, 2018

The OP didn’t say “perfectly smooth”' though, just not unevenly lumpy on the top of the cookie. I also thought of a Florentine, since the toffee flavor and the crispy, thin cookie seemed to describe a Florentine. I’ve made this recipe a few times (and they’re really good), and if the majority of the mixture is the honey/butter/flour part, you get a pretty smooth texture. I could see adding some candied fruit in there, that wouldnt be difficult.

You could make a square Florentine easily enough if you used one of those square silicon molds, or a baking pan with square holes. Florentine batter spreads out a lot as it cooks. You get little air holes in the cookies (which is why they’re called Laceys too) but otherwise it’s a flat, smooth cookie.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:26 PM on November 23, 2018

Oh, and they can also be made gluten-free if you just use almond flour instead of wheat flour. Doesn’t make a difference in the result AT ALL because the cookies don’t have to rise.

IKEA also sells boxes of these as “Laceys”.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:27 PM on November 23, 2018

Candied fruit (and nuts) is actually standard, much more so than not. But Florentines have those tiny craters on the surface and the fruits/nuts usually make the surface even more irregular. Anyway. There's an easy way to find out!
posted by praemunire at 12:12 AM on November 24, 2018

(But it should be "cross Mass Ave.," not "JFK," I am too sleepy.)
posted by praemunire at 12:39 AM on November 24, 2018

moravian in a different shape?
posted by brujita at 6:53 AM on November 24, 2018

Trader Joe's may still have Belgian almond cookies - Butter Almond Thins. I can imagine them made with colored almonds for Christmas. They are delicious, thin, crispy/shatter-y, toffee-ish. Years ago, Pillsbury had a similar slice-n-bake cookie. A dear elderly neighbor always brought them over as a gift, a humorous and pleasant memory.
posted by theora55 at 7:54 AM on November 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

my cookie intuition is saying "almond butter thins." Easily purchasable, but there are recipes available like this. If that looks close you can always add a little chopped up dried cherries and pistachios for the red and green bits.

Florentines aren't smooth. (God I love florentines.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:57 AM on November 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

I agree with theora55 and fingers and toes that the base cookie sounds like the almond butter thin variety - a slice and bake.

I haven’t tried it, but this looks like a good starting place. Shouldn’t be too sweet and uses brown sugar for the toffee flavor.

I’d start by swapping out 1/2 C chopped glacé cherries for the almonds (using a full cup might make the cookies too sweet or moist).

Chill the dough very well. Then put it in the freezer for an extra 15 mins just before slicing to firm it up a bit more.

Use the sharpest knife you have and shoot for 1/8” thick (recipe calls for 1/4”). Thinner cookies will mean a shorter bake time. Rotating the pans will be important for an even bake, so don’t skip this step.

And don’t fret: uneven cookies won’t bake as well, but friends and neighbors generally don’t complain about bonus cookies.
posted by jenquat at 9:34 AM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Complete shot in the dark, but Cheery Cherry Cookies are a Christmas staple in my family. This is not my mother's recipe, but gives you an idea. Sometimes made with brown sugar, which may account for the toffee flavour? Who knows!?
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 10:55 AM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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