Tag Archives: cookie

This Molasses Cookie Recipe Restored My Faith in Holiday Confections

Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.

Here’s the thing about holiday cookies that people miss: Most of them are bad. Like, moisture-sapping, gritty, too-sweet mounds of sadness bad. Nobody wants that, no matter how cutely those pucks are decorated or how festively they’re packaged. I’m over it! I want a cookie that tastes good, first and foremost. Which is why I’m forever a devotee of the OG (original glitter–bomb): Chewy Molasses Cookies.

Chewy Molasses Cookies: All You Ever Wanted

Sure, I love cookies that make a visual impact. Raspberry rugelach that shine like Christmas tree ornaments? Great! Zebra cookies with a dazzling collar of ruby–red sugar? Nice! But there’s a simple beauty in this molasses cookie recipe, a throwback from when BA contributor Alison Roman worked in our test kitchen. (Yep: The same person who brought the world The Cookies.) They dazzle quietly, showing up without needing too much attention. Plus, they make your house smell more festive than a holiday candle store, and are a whole lot less complicated to make than any of the disappointing, look-better-than-they-taste “showstoppers” that are bound to turn up at the cookie swap. What more could you ask for?

Here’s how to get started. Bump your oven racks to the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat it to 375º. Whisk together those dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, per usual. Then, combine the mixtures—no special equipment necessary!—until well incorporated. Nothing fancy, folks!

salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread

Okay, you should probably make these Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies too…

Throw some sanding sugar into a separate shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful (cookie scoops encouraged) and form into balls and roll in the sanding sugar. Plop ‘em onto two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and toss them into the oven. After 8–10 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through, they’re done and ready to relieve you from bad sugar cookie–tyranny.

Just like that, you’ve made a batch of beautiful, pillowy cookies that twinkle ever so slightly from that sugar bath you gave them earlier. They’re so much more complex tasting than they seem like they should be, with punchy hits of cinnamon, a kiss of cardamom, and just the right about of zing from ginger, all backed up by that just-the-right-amount-of-bitter molasses. They basically capture the feeling of hygge better than any cozy log cabin in Aspen. And after weeks of force-feeding yourself bland cookies, you could use a little rest.

The molasses cookie recipe in question:



Everything You Need to Turn Your Kitchen Into a Cookie Factory

It’s cookie baking (and swapping, and sharing) season—which means you’re turning your kitchen into a cookie factory, right? Before you get going on all those recipes, make sure you’re fully prepared. This means stocking up on all the tools you need to make and package your goodies. From precut parchment paper (trust us, you’ll never buy a roll again) to sturdy boxes that will ensure your cookies hold up during long-distance shipping or schlepping, here’s what you’ve got to have on hand.


This Cookie Scoop Will Fool Your Friends Into Thinking the Rest of Your Life Is Perfect Too

My first purchase with my HomeGoods employee discount in the early-2000s was a cookie scoop. I had just watched Ina Garten make chocolate chunk cookies on Barefoot Contessa and admired the precise, equal-sized dollops that she dropped across the baking sheet. I needed to have perfect cookies.

It wasn’t just about the way they’d look all piled just so on a platter at the cookie swap. This uniformity, she informed me, would also ensure that the cookies bake evenly, and thusly, taste like perfection too. So, I lingered in the baking aisle in the middle of a work day, bought a scoop as close to a 1¾-inch diameter as I could find (following Ina’s very specific instructions), went home, and started making dough. I’ve used it to bake dozens of meticulous cookies ever since.

The OXO medium cookie scoop ($14 on Amazon) is my platonic ideal of a scooper, thanks to its built-in wiper—a reliable mechanism that releases the dough in a no-stick kind of way. Thanks to this little helper, I can get close to a dozen cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in two minutes, which means I’m that much closer to brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies. And since it has a comfortable grip, I don’t get a hand cramp while baking big batches of holiday cookies.

cookie scoop 1

Photo by Chelsie Craig

This medium size is perfect for most standard cookies and also larger meatballs!

But cookies aren’t all that I make with my trusted scoops. Yes. Plural. I have a collection now. There’s the larger one with a 3 Tbsp. capacity (and a price of $15 on Amazon), that’s the perfect size for filling muffin or cupcake tins, or scooping ice cream for sundaes. A smaller one with 2 tsp. capacity ($13 on Amazon) is ideal for scooping out the insides of potatoes for the twice-baked kind, or used as a melon baller. And that medium scoop (about 1½ Tbsp.), my first love, scoops impeccable Sunday Sauce meatballs, in addition to loads and loads of cookies.

0417 Brown Butter Toffee ChocolateChip Cookie group

Photo by Alex Lau, styling by Sean Dooley

I love when all of my favorite brown butter and toffee chocolate chip cookies are all the same size.

Everything in my life might not be flawless, but at least all the small round things can be.

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Healthier Holiday Cookie Boxes from New York City Baker Sarah Owens

I run the risk of getting too ambitious during the holidays. I see stunning examples (A, B, C) of cookie boxes filled with a bazillion varieties of intricately-designed treats and think, “Hey, I can do that!” Only I, ummm, can’t. (I know this because I recently tried to organize a package for a holiday swap and ended up sending brined nuts and not much else in a shoebox across the country.)

So this year, I’m leaving it to the professionals—to Sarah Owens, specifically. Owens is an award-winning cookbook author and former ceramicist who started shipping her cookie boxes all over the country from her home base in New York City’s Rockaway Beach in 2017, after seven years of small-scale sourdough bread baking.

She uses organic ingredients and heirloom grains—Sonora, Maris Widgeon, and Einkorn, for example—that have the complex flavors and aromas missing from modern flour hybrids (a.k.a. the all-purpose stuff most of us use at home). But since these flours haven’t been blended, standardized, or commercialized, they’re a little bit less predictable when it comes to how they’ll behave in baked goods—another reason why it’s best to leave the healthyish en masse cookie production to a professional grain tinkerer.

Owens’s cookies are not only slightly healthier but also slightly more global versions of classics: This year’s box features, among its nine types, ras-el-hanout almond linzers (Owens blends the spices—including golpar, fenugreek, and anise—herself and sandwiches the cookies with homemade jam), Amarena cherry cheese spritzes, and, Owens’s personal fave, raspberry cardamom chocolate chip. Made with rye flour, their fruity essence comes from a raspberry caramel that’s whipped into the creamed butter, sugar, and eggs to create a cookie that’s chewy in the center but ultra crispy on the edges. And, lest she forget the cookie purists, there are also chocolate crinkles and gingerbread men.

The cookies are decorated in an organic, wabi-sabi fashion that I’d never be able to pull off, let alone replicate. They’re more Eileen Fisher than Lilly Pulitzer—earth tones and subtle embellishments, not pastels and neon animals—because Owens believes in honoring, not masking, her materials. And besides, “keeping the decorating relatively simple means that the cookies arrive to someone’s doorstep in a similar manner to how they left my hands,” Owens told me.

And lest you think these cookies are too rustic to impress your fanciest friend, wait until you see the 24-karat gold-dusted lemon-turmeric sugar cookies. It’s the holidays, after all—your loved ones deserve a little glitter and, yes, a box of these delicious cookies.

Get a cookie box online starting at $35. Order by 12/16 for delivery in time for Christmas.

All products featured on Healthyish are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


This Wedding Cookie Recipe Is the Only Married Thing About Me

About seven years into my partnered unmarried life, I made these brown butter wedding cookies. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to a Zola registry, and for that, I’m relieved. I like to keep my distance. From institutions, not cookies! I like to be close to cookies. Very close.

In the powdered sugar-strewn timeline of desserts, there have been many variations on these cookies: Mexican wedding cakes, Italian wedding cookies, butterballs, Russian tea cakes…Regina Schrambling at the Los Angeles Times traces the buttery trail here. But the common link is this: a melt-in-your-mouth cookie made with a shocking amount of butter, powdered sugar, nuts, flour, and vanilla. A double layer of powdered sugar gives them a velvet coating that dissolves on the tongue like a freshly fallen snowflake. Scenic much?

Nutty Browned Butter Wedding Cookies

Because this is Basically, our recipe is a pared-down, simple version that doesn’t tinker and tweak with added extracts, zests, or alt-flours. However, we do start with brown butter instead of normal butter, which adds a caramel-y, nutty flavor to the already-nutty cookie. Double nut fun! If you’ve never made brown butter, now’s your chance to learn and have a whole cookie universe opened up to you. (It’s a game-changer in chocolate chip cookies too.)

basically how to brown butter 3

Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Judy Mancini

Brown butter looks like this, if ya wanna know.

Once you’ve made the brown butter (TWO STICKS, BABY!), you chill it ‘til it’s solid, then cream it with powdered sugar using an electric mixer until it’s all fluffy. After that you mix in the flour, and fold in chopped walnuts and vanilla. That’s your cookie dough—pause to lick spatula clean. After that you MUST chill the dough. Two hours-ish. This cookie dough is pretty much sugared butter and we need that fat to solidify so that when the cookie balls hit the oven, they don’t spread and lose their snowball shape.

Basically Brown Butter Wedding Cookies 01

Powdered sugar bath.

Roll the cold dough into balls, or shape them gently with your fingers (what I did because my were pretty crumbly and not so easy to roll, Play-Doh style). They bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven sitch, but what’s tricky is knowing when they’re done, because we don’t want them browned and golden like choc chips. Notice how doughy, soft, and sticky the raw dough looks, and then keep an eye out to see them firm up and almost look dried out. When they’re still warm, roll them in a powdered sugar bath, let them fully cool, and roll one more time before serving—or stashing, because they’re even better the next day.

My cookies came out looking less like perfect snowballs and more like prehistoric rocks, but that’s really the story of my life. The final texture was spot-on, though, with that soft sugar blanket giving way to smooth, shortbread butterballs with crunchy walnut specks. I’d take a bite of cookie, sip of coffee, bite of cookie—and then next thing you know, seven years have gone by and people have finally stopped asking me if I’m just going to marry the cookies already. Nah, we’re good. We’re very happy like this.

Get the recipe:



This Week at BA: Butter-Basted Mushrooms and Cookie Feuds

Every Friday morning, Bon Appétit senior editor Alex Beggs shares weekly highlights from the BA office, from awesome new recipes to office drama to restaurant recs, with some weird (food!) stuff she saw on the internet thrown in. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll get this letter before everyone else.

Cook mushrooms like steak

“‘Tis the season!” I declared, pulling a long-forgotten basket from a drawer in my desk. “PEPPERMINT BARK?” screeched Basically editor Amiel Stanek, rushing around the corner to see what it was. Sorry, Amiel. It was the Halloween-candy sized stash of Emergen-C packets I still have from my very official taste-test. Everyone’s been sniffling and sneezing, so it was time to hit the powder.

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It’s also the season for butter-basted mushrooms In the farmers’ market equivalent of a late-night ASOS shopping spree, I spent way too much money on some impulse mushrooms. The most expensive, hen of the woods aka maitake, are also the most delicious, in my humble opinion. The ONLY recipe I go to now is this one, where you treat the mushrooms like steak, basting them with rosemary (or thyme) browned butter until they’re tender, crispy, and divine.

feast turkey and the wolf

Photo by Emma Fishman

Where is everybody?

The office was eerily quiet. Last weekend, a handful of BA staffers were in Portland for Feast, and here’s what my eyes and ears on the ground reported back. Editor in chief Adam Rapoport, who was caught drinking prosecco on ice, told deputy editor Julia Kramer that all staff were required to run the Healthyish 5k-ish, “And he made me run alongside him, making small talk, the *entire time,” she said. There was a field trip to a dispensary that looked like a Parisian jewelry store, where one editor picked up some CBD bath salts for his wife. At dinner at Kachka, herring under a fur coat and too many vodka shots were had. Brad was recognized by strangers everywhere he went (“I have so many friends here!” he told associate editor Christina Chaey). People transported via electric scooters. Amiel wore a lilac suit. The Turkey and the Wolf team brought their own McDonald’s plateware and a 12-pack of Pabst. I guess you just had to be there!

Farewell, restaurant

New York readers might have heard that Café Loup closed this week for alleged tax evasion, which is a pretty gangster way to go for an old school spot like that, so I accept this news with a grief and understanding. A few semesters ago, I took a continuing education writing workshop at the New School (never stop learning!), and every Friday after class, I’d meet a friend there for an icy martini—and sidecar—with fries. Everything else on the menu was terrible. It would be 6 p.m., the place mostly empty, and the maitre’d would look at me with disgust and say there were no tables. And then he’d relent, fine, a little spot near the bar, if you must. (I guess I didn’t look enough like Christopher Hitchens.) So farewell, Loup! May you rest in peace in restaurant heaven, where I imagine Florent lives on, 24/7 in our hearts.

Twizzle de doo

Watch Claire make gourmet Twizzlers here!

The way the Christmas cookie crumbles

Despite the lack of peppermint bark tins, we did have three weeks of Christmas cookie testing at the end of the summer. During those three weeks, we filmed a handful of videos–like Molly Baz’s scallops—and in the background, Chris Morocco has his headphones in, blasting the electronica band Timecop1983. “I really needed to go to a different place,” Chris told me about the struggle to think holly-jolly when it’s 90 degrees out. “I needed ambient soundwaves, no singing, none of Brad’s Neil Young, which honestly is how I feel year-’round, but that’s another thing.” I’ll let the Neil Young comment slide. “I thought he was listening to some dorky dad music,” Molly said, “but it’s like, the vibiest music ever.” This was Chris’ first year on Christmas cookie duty for the magazine, which is a big deal in our neck of the woods. “He did a fine job,” said Brad “not really a cookie guy” Leone. “The linzer sandwich thing was dynamite. With a cup of coffee, Beggs, forgettaboutit.” I’m a fan of Chris’ sparkly snickerdoodle 2.0—just wait til you see it (December issue!).


Tara Donne

Unnecessary food feud of the week

All this cookie talk, and a meeting on the theme of the word “crunchy,” got people arguing about what’s better: a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie, or a crispy one? Video editor Misa Spencer is team Soft ‘n’ Chewy: “I never understood why people liked crispy packaged cookies—they make my mouth dry and sad,” she told me, adding that her mom, apparently a canonized saint, would time her batches of chocolate chip cookies so that they’d come out of the oven right before Misa got home from school. “Crispy cookies belong in icebox cakes and cookie cereal,” said contributor and big ol’ softie Sarah Jampel. Christina Chaey posted an image of Pepperidge Farm’s Sausalito cookies, her favorite of the chewy variety, to which Chris replied: “stop posting things just to upset me.” Others felt a truly perfect cookie is both crispy on the exterior, but soft within. (That answer is a cop-out). But I agree with digital director Carey Polis: “Sometimes you have cookie emergencies and that’s when Tate’s is really there for you.”