The Cookie Universe According to Dorie Greenspan

November 17, 2016 5:11 pm Last Updated: November 17, 2016 5:11 pm

In the world according to Dorie Greenspan, the cookie domain is infinite. It is, as she calls it, a “cookie-verse.”

The beloved cookbook author, who resides in Paris, New York City, and Westbrook, Connecticut, had published just a handful of cookie recipes in her previous books.

But now with her new 500-plus-page cookbook, “Dorie’s Cookies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, $35), cookies get their turn.

Greenspan has so many words for them: Jammers, Peanut Butter Change-ups, Chocolate-Cornflake Haystacks, Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops, French Snacklettes, Little Rascals, and Pistachio-Berry Slims are just some examples. It is easy to start envisioning a world order where cookies reign.

Dorie Greenspan holds one of her favorite cookies, a Jammer. (Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan)
Dorie Greenspan holds one of her favorite cookies, a Jammer. (Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan)

In fact, when so focused on a single-subject cookbook, she started to see the possibilities of new recipes everywhere.

“It sparked my imagination,” she said, in an email interview. Everything can be, in Dorie-speak, “cookie-ized.”

Strawberry shortcake? No problem. Sweet potato pie with marshmallows? Why not? She could have gone on, she said, but it was her editor who finally stopped her with the threat of imminent deadlines, capping the book at 170 recipes—each accompanied by a photo.

The cookie monsters all fell over Dorie's cookies. Above (top to bottom) World Peace Cookies, Crumb-Topped Apple Bars, Sesame-Sea Salt Cookies, Raspberry-Chocolate Thumbprints, and Honey-Blue Cheese Madeleines. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
The cookie monsters all fell over Dorie’s cookies. Above (top to bottom) World Peace Cookies, Crumb-Topped Apple Bars, Sesame-Sea Salt Cookies, Raspberry-Chocolate Thumbprints, and Honey-Blue Cheese Madeleines. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Neither is the savory out of bounds. She wasn’t sure whether she could make savory, hot and spicy meringues work, but she did, using the Japanese spice blend togarashi. And the combination of blue cheese and honey, for example, finds its way into madeleines. When it came to testing them out, I was a bit skeptical, but they were a hit. As for her Sesame-Sea Salt cookies, they are addictive with their impossibly light and crunchy texture and their interplay of savory and sweet.

The cookie monsters, erm, testers, also fell in love with the Crumb-Topped Apple Bars, a three-layered bar that is reminiscent of a pie and yet different. First, there is a brown-sugar cookie base, then chunks of apples, which through the course of baking acquire an ethereal, cloud-like texture, and finally a topping of crumbs made from the same dough as the crust.

Crumb-Topped Apple Bars. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Crumb-Topped Apple Bars. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

The prep and baking instructions are detailed, warm, and encouraging. Greenspan does a great job of anticipating readers’ thoughts. For example, the dough for her fudgy, chocolaty World Peace Cookies can look perplexing to those used to a regular cookie dough, so she makes a point of reassuring readers about its temperamental nature.

The book’s opening chapter, devoted to tips and tricks of cookie baking, makes it invaluable. She turns some baking conventions on their heads—which will leave home bakers clapping their hands—such as adding flour all at once, or chilling the dough after rolling it out, not before.

With holidays around the corner, this is a great book to get now. “I love the fact that when you bake cookies, you bake a batch so you have cookies to share,” Greenspan said.

“As a baker, I think cookies—there’s something very generous about them. As an eater, there’s something that’s really selfish about them. When you’re given a cookie, [it means] someone cares for you, and it’s all yours, and there’s a pleasure in that.”

Luba Pishchik contributed to this report

Ready to make some cookies? See Dorie Greenspan’s recipes for:

Crumb-Topped Apple Bars

World Peace Cookies

Sesame-Sea Salt Cookies

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