A First Look at Dorie Greenspan’s New Cookie Cookbook
Words Veronica Chan
After a long, hot summer, we’re excited to roll up our sleeves, fire up the oven, and make some cookies! We chatted with our dear friend and everyone’s favorite cookie maven Dorie Greenspan, whose new book, Dorie’s Cookies, hits stores in October. She told us about her new #cookiesandkindness project, what went into the making of her new book, and some baking tips and tricks she’s picked up along the way.
In Dorie’s Cookies, you mention that you must have developed over 300 cookie recipes throughout your baking career. How did you decide which recipes would be included in this book?
Here’s what’s funny: only a handful of the recipes in my new book come from the stash of 300+ recipes— the majority are brand new. For me, the fun of cookbookery—and with it recipe creation—is to stretch, to keep dreaming and experimenting, collecting and discovering. I love when friends share their recipes with me and I love when I come upon new recipes in my travels.
While I sometimes start a cookbook with a list of recipes I’d like to include, I started this one with a blank notebook. I knew I wanted to include all of the recipes I’d made when my son and I had our cookie shop, Beurre & Sel, but beyond that, I went wherever my whims took me and then crossed my fingers that all the recipes would work together as a book…and they did!
I love that you include some really interesting ingredients and flavor profiles (from savory meringues to “cocktail” cookies) that really push the envelope of what defines a cookie. For those of us who want to break away from our usual chocolate chip repertoire, what are some unusual ingredients you’ve found work well in cookie form, and how did you discover them?
I hope bakers will find lots of surprising ingredients and combinations to have fun with in my book. I began making “cocktail” cookies—savory cookies to be enjoyed with wine, beer and yes, cocktails—for our shop and then, once I started, I couldn’t stop: the possibilities were irresistible. For instance, who can resist meringues made with togarashi, the Japanese chili pepper blend? Or cookies with cheddar, pretzels, and Old Bay seasoning? Crackers with Triscuits baked into them?
There are sweet cookies with tahini and sugar-coated sesame seeds, shortbread flavored with rose and hibiscus tea and cookies that use cornmeal, one that uses semolina flour and many that are what I think of as “naturally” gluten-free.
One of my favorite discoveries? That I could use kasha (granulated buckwheat groats) in cookies. I was looking for a substitute for rye grits in a fabulous multi-grain cookie recipe my friend Kerrin had sent me from Switzerland. I hit on kasha and, not only did it work, it was so wonderful that I used it for crunch and flavor in other recipes as well.
When you spend a few years focusing on cookies—as I did working on this book—you start to look at different desserts and think: Can I cookie-ize it? And in so many cases, the answer is YES! That’s how sweet potato pie, chocolate-pecan pie, and buttermilk pie became bar cookies. Oh, apple pie too.
What are some quintessential baking tools that would be useful for someone making recipes from your book? What’s a tool you can’t live without?
It almost goes without saying that you need a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan to bake cookies (if you have more than one, even better!) and racks to cool the cookies. Cooling is really important for setting the cookies’ texture.
I use muffin tins a lot when cookie-baking. It’s a way of shaping cookies while giving them a polished look. It’s unusual, I know, but the cookies are beautiful.
I love bar cookies—I think of them as bang-for-your-buck cookies since they take just a little work and turn out a lot of cookies. I make them in 8-inch and 9-inch square pans as well as in 9-x-13-inchers.
And I’d never want to be without my “wardrobe” of cookie scoops. I have small, medium and large scoops—two of each, because cookie-baking is fun to do with a pal.
Any tips and techniques you could share for someone looking to sharpen their cookie-baking game?
One of the easiest ways to sharpen your cookie-baking game is to use scoops. Scoops don’t just make your cookies look better (and they do) but by using scoops, you are ensuring all of your cookies are the same size and will bake evenly.
Can you explain a little more about the #cookiesandkindness project and what inspired you to start this movement to encourage people to bake cookies to share with others?
The #cookiesandkindness project is simple: It’s a way to encourage bakers to do what they love to do—bake cookies and share them! I thought about this a lot when writing Dorie’s Cookies. I realized early on that I was creating recipes to share.
I’ve always said that the only reason to bake, aside from the sheer pleasure of the process, is to make something delicious we can give to others. Cookies create joy and these days, when it’s so easy to forget all that is wonderful, we need cookies and kindness more than ever.
My idea is to have bakers everywhere bake and share their cookies, as they always do or in new and surprising ways.
I’d like everyone to share what they’re baking and how they’re spreading their baked joy on social media using the hashtag #cookiesandkindness. If you’d like me to find you, tag me at @doriegreenspan and include #Dories_Cookies.
If enough of us bake and share and are kind, we can make the world an even sweeter place. It’s what we bakers do and it’s what I’d love for us to encourage others to do.
Stay tuned for a sneak peek at some cookie recipes from Dorie’s Cookies next month!