Holiday baking, Christmas Edition: the debutantes


One of the two pounds of butter I went through…

Gourmet put up a ‘best of’ cookie retrospective and I was intrigued by the cottage cheese cookies from the 1960’s, even though they were essentially going to be butter cookies.

There’s not actually a lot of cottage cheese in it, but it does add something.


My cottage cheese of choice. They can get a plug.


The dough tastes a lot like cheesecake – a bit of a tang. Very nice. It came together very easily – the cottage cheese pretty much disappears as soon as you start the mixer, so you don’t have to worry about draining or curd size. 


The finished cookies. I will admit that they were best the day of, chewy and light. They got firmer and denser as time passed, but they never became hard. The cheesecake-y tang wasn’t as prevalent in the finished cookie, but these were certainly a little more special than the average plain soft butter cookie. They also don’t look anything like the ones on the web page, so I am nonetheless left wondering what I did wrong.


The other debut was the espresso cookie recipe from the Toronto Star’s cookiefest. I had to swap out the coffee liqueur because I don’t normally drink the stuff and thus didn’t have any in the house and had no inclination to buy a bottle just for two teaspoons. I think the cookies came out nicely without, but I would like to try it with the little bit of extra kick – I’m sure I can hit someone up for some Kahlua/Tia Maria.


I used my normal coffee (Zabar’s Dark Espresso), which is close enough for the purpose.


This was one of the batters I made in advance; I hoped the extra time with the ground coffee would make up for the lack of liqueur. It sort of looks like cookies-and-cream ice cream.


I went with slightly larger cookies than directed; next time, I’ll make them smaller. They, too, were rolled around in a bag full of sugar, then flattened.


These spread a lot. They’re firm without being crispy and taste pleasantly of coffee without it actually feeling like you’re gnawing on coffee grounds. (Which you are, so that’s an achievement.)


… as for the others, I’ve made Deb’s crispy white-chocolate oatmeal cookies here before and they are reliable and awesome and reliably awesome, even without the salt (which I didn’t use because I didn’t want to have to keep explaining to people at the office party that it was intentional).

The almond cookies were, I think, a point of pride for me in that they were me turning a miserable failure into something edible and even pleasant.


Basically, it’s sugar and egg white and ground almonds, which somehow was supposed to be amaretti on their own but was actually a sorry gloop, and then I threw in a cup of flour, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and a teaspoon of baking soda and got proper cookies out of them.


There’s the basis of a real almond cookie recipe here – especially as they came out tender with very little added fat – but I’m going to futz with it before doing anything like post a recipe.


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