Cupcakes are our specialty at Treat, but we love cookies. Here’s our inside “scoop” on everything from raw to baked, chips to chunks, and “regular” to special diets!
Cookies accomplish a few things cupcakes can’t. For those who want a smaller dessert, cookies are often the perfect size compared to cupcakes. They’re also easier and neater to eat on the go.
Some of our favorite classic cookie flavors are sugar, chocolate chip, M&M, and peanut butter, but there are so many new flavors to explore too. It can be fun to invent a homemade version of favorites such as Oreos, Thin Mints, and Nutter Butters. For example, we recommend using a mixture of caramel and flaked coconut on top of shortbread circles to make cookies inspired by girl scout Caramel DeLites.
Matching cookie flavors to the seasons is also a good option. For spring and summer baking, we love flavors such as lemonade, key lime, and s’more. You can even use food dye to make marbled red, white, and blue sugar cookies for the Fourth of July. Fall and winter are our favorite time to use warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; we also opt for maple, peppermint, and hot cocoa when the weather is chilly.
There are so many ways to make cookies your own. In fact, sometimes a great idea for changing a recipe comes from a “happy accident” and the troubleshooting that follows! For instance, when a batch of our peanut butter cookies turned out a little too soft, we dipped the bottoms in white chocolate to stabilize them. Now, we sometimes use a layer of chocolate to keep soft cookies from cracking.
Similarly, we try not to give up on cookies that are imperfectly cooked. We recently overbaked a batch of sugar cookie stars by a few minutes, and we weren’t sure if we could use them. But they turned out to have a toasted, caramelized flavor, almost like graham crackers. We finished them off with marshmallow cream and chocolate dip, and the s’mores sandwich cookie was born.
Similar to our position on cupcakes, we believe everyone should be able to eat an awesome cookie, regardless of diet—but it’s not always easy. Almond flour and coconut sugar have made it possible to create a paleo-friendly cookie for those who keep a grain- and refined sugar-free diet. We also use a blend of gluten-free flour to make gluten-free cookies and logs of cookie dough to bake at home.
People often ask for baking instructions for the gluten-free cookie dough. We recommend cutting the log into circles ¼ inch thick and baking them at 350 ̊ for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown. But everyone’s oven is different—it’s best to keep an eye on the cookies!
To add some personality, try sprinkling crunchy granulated sugar on the cookies before they’re baked or dipping the baked cookies in chocolate. In the spirit of the donut-shaped sugar cookies we made this month, why not use a small spoon to take a hole out of each cookie and then decorate them as miniature donuts? If you believe donuts are incomplete without frosting, try topping them with a simple glaze made of ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and any food coloring you like.
Edible cookie dough: What’s the deal?
Lately, there’s been a craze in the bakery world for edible cookie dough. In January of 2017, Kristen Tomlan opened a New York City shop called Dō (“dough”), and we decided to bring the idea to Needham in the summer of 2018.
Raw eggs and raw flour are unsafe to eat because of bacterial risks, but we omit eggs and use heat-treated flour instead, so our dough is safe and delicious served raw. At home, in order to make cookie dough recipes safe for eating, be sure to heat the flour to the safe temperature of 160 ̊ Fahrenheit. You can use the oven—spread 2 cups of flour on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 350˚ Fahrenheit—or you can microwave 1 cup of flour for a minute and 15 seconds in total, pausing to stir it every 15 seconds. Each egg in the dough can be replaced with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water, or you can use 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 2.5 tablespoons of water.
There’s a major debate over whether cookie dough tastes better cold or at room temperature. If you have fond memories of snatching bites from a bowl before baking cookies, the room-temperature option might match how you think cookie dough should taste. But if you enjoy a cool treat that’s a little like ice cream, you might prefer to refrigerate the dough before serving.
Either way, the world of cookies is changing. We can’t wait to see what comes next!