Certain quotas and cookie archetypes have already been filled:
Bon Appétit’s Ginger Spice Cookies, for instance, are chewy and crystallized in perfect proportion:
Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies, which I first spotted on Smitten Kitchen:
Photo by Picky Baker
Claudia Fleming’s Chocolate Brownie Cookies have a comfortable lead in the chocolate department:
And, for nostalgia’s sake, there are the Lime Zingers that my family decorates every Christmas.
Now, to unveil the newest member of my pantheon of cookie greats: Celia Barbour’s Spoon Cookies. Credit (and deep gratitude) goes to my friend Mollie for making this batch—another outtake from the Gourmet wake—and for having the generosity/discipline to share them.
These are tender, cherubic little cookies flecked with nibs of brown butter and haloed with berry preserves. (Everything a linzer cookie wants to be, but better.) They're exactly the kind of cookie you’d want to build a fantasy life around.
While I'm on the subject, what are your go-to cookies?
Adapted from Gourmet
Barbour recommends making these cookies in advance: “After a couple of days, the cookies' texture becomes lovely and melting. Earlier, they are good, but later, they're transcendent. Honest.” Good luck with that.
Yield: 30 sandwich cookies
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt, slightly rounded
1/3 cup fruit preserves [Barbour uses half strawberry and half cherry]
Fill kitchen sink with about 2 inches of cold water. Melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter turns golden with a nutlike fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a rich caramel brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (Butter will initially foam, then dissipate. A thicker foam will appear and cover the surface just before butter begins to brown; stir more frequently toward end of cooking.) Place pan in sink to stop cooking, then cool, stirring frequently, until butter starts to look opaque, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from sink and stir in sugar and vanilla.
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture until a dough forms. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and let stand at cool room temperature 1 to 2 hours, to allow flavors to develop. [Dough can be made 12 hours before baking and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature to soften slightly before forming cookies, about 30 minutes.]
Form and bake cookies:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Press a piece of dough into bowl of a deep-bowled teaspoon (not a measuring spoon), flattening top, then slide out and place, flat side down, on an ungreased baking sheet. (Dough will feel crumbly, but will become cohesive when pressed.) Continue forming cookies and arranging on sheet. Bake cookies until just pale golden, 8 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheet on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
While cookies cool, heat preserves in a small saucepan over low heat until just runny, then pour through a sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on solids, and cool completely.
Spread the flat side of a cookie with a thin layer of preserves. Sandwich with flat side of another cookie. Continue with remaining cookies and preserves, then let stand until set, about 45 minutes. Transfer cookies to an airtight container and wait 2 days before eating. [If you can.] Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 2 weeks.