For nearly my entire, post-graduate life I have enjoyed holiday baking. At first, I stuck with recipes that were the stock of my mother’s arsenal–thumbprint cookies, spritz, fudge (but never, EVER divinity). As with most things, as time went on and my friends and cousins got older, we made and shared our own discoveries on hand-written recipe cards with special tips and hints. I developed my own arsenal including peppermint candycane cookies that actually were ropes of peppermint-infused sugar dough twisted together–a red rope and a cream rope–and shaped into a cane. Peppermint sandwich cookies with chocolate sugar dough, rolled in sugar, baked, then used to sandwich a peppermint patty. Biscotti in three flavors, my favorite being traditional, almond shortbread drizzled with melted chocolate. Shortbread. Molasses cookies. Austrian Cream Cheese bars straight off a bag of Pillsbury Flour in the 1990s. Nancy’s amazing apple bars, as well as her knock-off almond roca. And of course there are always the “snowballs” (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies, aka Russian Tea Cakes).
In the last few years, I’ve added combinations that are chewy and salty alike, like, Beurre and Sel Jammers and Iced Citrus Crackle Cookies. And this year, for an Oktoberfest party, I found a recipe on Allrecipes–via Pinterest–for “Old German Honey Cookies” and they truly transport me to the bakeries of Germany where sweetness is never too sweet.
But there is one cookie that became my staple this holiday season–Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles. Blew. My. Mind. The new crack-cocaine. Seriously. They are nutty and chewy and salty and sweet all at the same time, and richer than you could possibly imagine while being tolerably-rich. Amazing.
So this year, I made one kind of cookie, three times. The same recipe. And every time we were down to one or two, and my son, home from college, said, “hey, where’d they all go?” I said, “don’t worry, I will make more.” And I did. And so did other people as I discovered on the family trip to Twisp for the holidays. A cousin was eating a cookie, and I said to her, “Oh! I made the most amazing cookies this year! Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles!” You know what she said?
“That’s what these are! Oh, and this is the last one.”