soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies

I really set out to make these classic chocolate chip cookie recipe from Jacques Torres, aka “Mr. Chocolate” (and another one of my chef crushes), but it called for two types of flours – bread and pastry – and worse, 24-36 hours of dough refrigeration time before baking. I didn’t have any pastry flour in my pantry and Chris and I couldn’t wait that long to satisfy our cookie craving. Making the oft-hyped “perfect chocolate chip cookie” would have to wait for another day. So I hunted around for an alternative recipe for soft, chewy cookies using ingredients I already had on hand. I found this one from Anna Olson who says cornstarch is the “secret” ingredient for cookies with chewy centers.

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snickerdoodle cookies

The essence of the classic snickerdoodle cookies lies in its utter simplicity.  They are unfussy cookies made from ingredients you most likely have on hand – flour, eggs, butter, salt, baking soda, sugar, and cinnamon. You probably even have the cream of tartar, which you forgot you had, shoved all the way in the back of the spice cabinet. Snickerdoodles can be made entirely by hand, without any kitchen appliances, although I prefer to use the stand mixer for convenience. All you really need is a bowl and a whisk to combine the ingredients and your hands to roll the dough into balls and to dredge them in cinnamon sugar.  Fifteen minutes later (10 minutes to bake, 5 minutes to cool), you will be eating a crackly-topped cookie, fresh from the oven, that is soft in the middle with slightly crunchy edges.  Don’t forget the milk!

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lemon shortbread cookies

Yesterday I needed a break from the weekend chores so I decide to make some shortbread cookies.  They are easy to make and I had all the ingredients on hand.  This recipe is adapted from one given to Aunt Janet by Mrs. Beaten, a Scottish neighbor of hers when she lived in Hilo, HI.  These cookies have a great lemony flavor and are perfect with a cup of tea.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from a recipe by Mrs. Beaten
Yields 2 dozen cookies

10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon (preferably meyer lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tablespoon lemon thyme, finely chopped for garnish

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