I get a lot of random late night cravings, anything from cherry clafoutis and fresh homemade margarita, down to the basics like fudge brownies. Alone in the house one night, going through unanswered emails, I had the strongest need for chocolate chip cookies. I had to stop what I was doing and bake some stat.
Between us two, Jens & I consume a fair amount of chocolate on a daily basis. When they’re not in the form of bars, truffles or chunks, they are in something baked. These brownies have certainly been on rotation to help keep up with our quota, but there’s always room for more.
I had my heart set on this cookie recipe since I got Alice Medrich’s book last year. What’s stopped me from making them was the need to refer to another page in another section of the book for the chocolate wafer recipe. This stresses me so.
One evening a couple of weeks ago, the need to bake something chocolate-y overruled my cookbook pet peeve. I just wish it happened sooner. The original recipe called for pecans and sour cherries, but I stuck to what we had on hand at midnight: cashews and dried bing cherries. J would have preferred hazelnuts, but we were out of them, too.
You know the type…the type of recipes that don’t quite wow you, but are worthy to take note of because it has the beginnings of something much better. This is one of those recipes. It’s like a flaky sugar cookie spread on a cookie sheet and topped with cinnamon sugar and sliced almonds. If you do not have a sweet tooth and/or need something to go with your light tea, then this could be one of the better contenders for you sugar-limited bite.
Fresh out of the oven and with just a glass of warm water (can I remind you that I bake after midnight and that I drink water before bed?), it was good! The next morning, the taste was almost like a buttery version of graham crackers, plus the cinnamon and nuts. I like it. Some didn’t care for it. It’s not something they would ask from me again, and definitely not something they would look forward to receiving. My nephews, on the other hand, enjoyed noshing on them. I know these mostly sound too unfavorable for these cookies, but I do believe that given a few changes, this could be everybody’s new favorite cookie before they even realize it was the one they looked down upon.
So why am I even mentioning this to you if this is not “the best” yet? Two reasons:
(1) You might actually like it as is! Jan Hagels is a traditional Dutch cookie that is close to the hearts of a lot of people. I’ve looked online and it seems that these little cookies have been part of a lot of families’ holiday traditions. Like I said earlier, if you are not too much into the sweet stuff, this could be all the sugar quota for dessert or snack you will need. And…
(2) Perhaps you would like to try it and find inspiration into transforming it into another recipe. I, for one, think that a variation of this could make for a great crust under fruit or nut bars. I’m even thinking of making it into a sandwich cookie. The dough itself could hold a host of different flavors, and sturdy enough to hold crushed nuts (yum). I’m all for experimenting with food and within the next few weeks I will have a date again with this recipe, hoping for a spark of yumminess.
I almost forgot to tell you that what lured me into baking these at 2:00 am was how easy it was to make. The ingredients are easy to find, if they’re not already in your pantry, and you could possibly even make it with kids. This cute Ikea baking set comes to mind just for the occasion.
At the end of the day or week, when the cinnamon lover in you is looking for a quick and easy bite, give this recipe a try. Wrap them up in parchment with a box of tea for a dear friend. Pack them up to share at work. Or on a day like today, when you’ve had enough of Valentine sweets, these Dutch Almond cookies would be a welcome break from all that!
FACT: I’ve never made white chocolate chip/chunk cookies until two weeks ago.
Don’t give me that look.
I do, I do love them! But. I’ve always bought them. There’s no logical explanation or acceptable excuse for such behavior. Let’s just leave the past behind, shall we?
I opened a new chapter in my life since the inception of these disappearing cookies in August. Come September, I baked 66 of these and they were rightfully distributed among a dozen people in less than 24 hours, reaching 2 countries and 4 cities.
Say Hello to the border-crossing sweet treats.
These were part of the Dana Treats we enjoyed during our stay in Seattle. They are her husband’s favorite and it was clear to us why. They are chewy, munchy, and whatever delicious cliché adjective you can think of.
If you know what’s good for you, use the best white chocolate you can find. I used white Callebaut chunks. I don’t usually try to twist your arm to use a particular brand, but trust me when I say this: People notice the quality of the chocolate. Almost everyone commented on it. Yes, dear loved ones, only the best for you.
Simply put, these are damn good.
I, hereby, propose that — unless you abhor any of the ingredients — you should, oh you definitely SHOULD make these. Now.
You can thank me later. Or not. Really, just enjoy it. That’s good enough for me. These cookies bring me joy like no other. I have to thank my friend Dana for sharing the recipe for these. Also check out my fellow Seattle crew Tracy’s step-by-step photos.
Lately I’ve been getting weird Facebook Friend Requests like this:
If that was possible, I’m sure I would have received a lot already, because I’m usually one to oblige.
What really happened was:
“Have you baked gingersnaps?”
“Hmm. I’ve never made gingersnaps.”
“You don’t like them?”
“It’s not that. I just have no opinion of them.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
And then I asked on Twitter for recipes. Twitter, you see, is like a search engine that talks back to you. Real people replying to your queries. Ultimately, I was looking for one that doesn’t require too much work or ingredients I don’t have on hand. I received a handful of good suggestions, and honed in on one. That same evening, however, I pulled The Craft of Baking off the shelf just to check if it has gingersnaps, and I was won over when I didn’t see any freezer time required. It wasn’t those times when I want to make my life difficult.
Hello, instant gratification.
I’m still getting over the fact that I ate 5 of them already, in their 3-inch diameter glory.
I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about them now.
They made the kitchen–heck, the entire 2nd floor and the stairway–smell like Christmas morning. Please don’t crucify me, I’m one of those who LOVE THE HOLIDAYS. LOVE IT. I’m already thinking about things to make for family and friends, food- and craft-wise.
These cookies start out as soft balls of dough that flatten into beautiful dark rum-colored circular planes during baking. The edges stay crispy, but the centers become chewy. I’ll try making them again after freezing and cutting into thin slices to see if they become crisp. Until then, I can’t vouch for their snappiness.
Let me know if you do try it. I always love to hear how it turns out for others. If you have tips on making gingersnaps crispy, please share!
Have a great weekend!