Every single one of these cookies has a story and an inroad, whether it’s from my childhood, or from my adulthood looking back to my childhood, or otherwise. They are all met with a sense of both nostalgia and newness. In your cookbook, you share some wisdom about what you’ve learned in your professional career as a baker. What’s the most important advice you can give about making cookies? Don’t bake the whole batch at once. Bake one in your oven—a scoop, a slice, a cut, a swirl, depending on the cookie format—and make sure that you like the size, the shape, and the taste. It’s November, so a lot of people have holiday baking on their minds. What are your favorite holiday-appropriate treats from All About Cookies?
You mentioned that cookies are what really got you into the kitchen in the first place. A blessing for the rest of us, really.You can be fanciful about making cookies, but the truth of the matter is that you can also make a cookie with a wooden spoon, a bowl, and a stick of butter—which is how my grandma would often make cookies in the countryside of Ohio. You’re a kid, you push the wooden stool up next to the matriarch, in my case my grandmother. You help measure things. You get a little sticky, you get a little messy, you steal a pinch of cookie dough. You round off these little scoops of dough, you put them in the oven, and magic happens. One of them is Grandma’s oatmeal cookie recipe! Another is “chipless wonders,” essentially a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chip. My aunt would make them. She loved chocolate chip cookies, but her husband and my cousins hated chocolate chips for some reason. I thought that I had just witnessed the most clever, creative thing when she made them: Oh my god, what if you just took chocolate chips out of a chocolate chip cookie? It was my first taste of rule-breaking.
Christina Tosi: They’re what I first learned how to make, as a kid. They’re the reason I love making dessert. They’re also the format that, even off the clock, I go back to time and time again. I think that’s for a few different, really specific, and powerful reasons. There is this underdog spirit to a cookie; a humility to a cookie. They have a low barrier to entry. Most people don’t make cake from scratch at home, unless they’re really going for a big baking project. But baking cookies is a pretty low commitment, by and large, in the home baking arena. And, I think, the sharing power of a cookie. You can stack a few cookies on a plate and bring them to someone; you can put a cookie in a baggy and leave it out for your mail carrier, or whatever it is. It’s a dessert that creates community, which is the emotional spirit of all the reasons I love to bake.
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