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Dispatches From Whitcomb Street

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Posts tagged cookie:

five spice snickerdoodles

I like simple cookies—gingersnaps, oatmeal raisin, shortbread, kid’s cookies like those. Snickerdoodles are, like, the Platonic ideal of a cookie for me—simple flavors highlighted with just a little spice, interesting crisp-going-soft texture, good with tea or coffee, plain.

Even I get bored, though. So here are snickerdoodles made with five spice powder instead of cinnamon. They’re just interesting enough.

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bolle di neve

These are bolle de neve, snowball cookies, from Carol Field’s wonderful book The Italian Baker. They are “cookies” the way a stick of butter, melted, could be called a “soup” - in form, rather than function. These little balls are pure almond and sugar, with a little orange for flavoring, heated just to the point of exterior crispness.

But they’re pretty wonderful, with their light, sandy texture and delicate almond flavor. If you’re going to eat pure marzipan, this is a good way to disguise it.

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shortbread with candied lemon and rosemary

I am generally not a cookie person. I like baking cookies, but I don’t like eating them all that much - too sweet, usually, and too much stuff crammed in. I am boring; I would rather eat a sugar cookie or a gingersnap than a three-kinds-of-chocolate/craisin/nut extravaganza. 

This shortbread is a happy medium between my eight-year-old-girl cookie tastes and those of more discerning people. As shortbread should, it tastes first and foremost of good butter. It is only lightly sweet, in pleasing layers: sweet/bitter candied lemon; barely-sweet cookie; a purely sweet sanding layer on top. It is interesting, what with the herb and the complicated citrus, but not overly so. It has a light, sandy texture but it’s not a mess to eat. Best of all, it skips all the messiness of rolling and cutting sticky shortbread dough; you just spread it in a pan and bake. Easy!

Shortbread fingers with candied lemon and rosemary

Butter a quarter-size sheet pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Whisk together:

  • 315 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 g chopped candied lemon
  • two or three tablespoons of chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 340 g (3 sticks) room-temperature sweet butter

at medium speed in a mixer with a paddle until light-colored and full of air; 3 minutes or so. Add:

  • 110 g confectioner’s sugar

and beat until all the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is fluffy; 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture and stir on low speed just until combined. The dough will be very soft, but should not feel wet or greasy. 

Spread evenly in the prepared baking sheet with an offset spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the shortbread has barely begun to color at the edges.

Set the pan on a rack; sprinkle immediately with granulated or sanding sugar. Use a thin knife or metal spatula to cut into fingers while still hot. Let cool completely in the pan.