Cookies

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With nearly 200 employees, Pennsylvania’s Oakmont Bakery sells 850 dozen a day

Shelves of cupcakes, cookies, and brownies on display for sale at a bakery.
Shelves of cupcakes, cookies, and brownies on display for sale at a bakery.
Photos: Oakmont Bakery

When a cookie table is inevitable, who needs a wedding cake? That may be a fair question, but Pennsylvania’s Oakmont Bakery also bakes plenty of breathtaking cakes, too.

The selection is vast: from a turtle thumbprint, the small éclair and cream puff, lemon drops, brownie drops, iced sugar cookies, red velvet cookies, jelly, chocolate and turtle, and seasonal thumbprints. Butterballs and buckeyes. Peanut butter blossoms.

And, to dress things up a bit, apricot and nut kolache; plain, strawberry, and cherry cheesecake. Maybe tuck in some small danishes, an assortment of macarons, cannoli, biscotti, and truffles. Or tarts. Or cupcakes. …


The cookie table is a Rust Belt wedding must — but can it be Covid-compliant?

A variety of cookies on a multitiered serving rack next to a candle on a buffet table.
A variety of cookies on a multitiered serving rack next to a candle on a buffet table.
Photo: Shady Elms Farm Venue

There isn’t a wedding planner in Pittsburgh who doesn’t consider where the cookie table will be placed in the reception space, knowing a well-executed cookie table can take the cake if size, quantity, and display emanate beauty and a bounty of cookies.

More importantly, cookie tables are a straightforward, traditional symbol of love for the couple: the more cookies, the more love.

Guests may ooh and ahh over a masterpiece wedding cake, but in this corner of the country, their hands and hearts are at the cookie table, drooling over an extravagant spread of mostly homemade cookies designed to impress…


Find out from the baker who perfected the technique in her new book, ‘100 Cookies’

The cover of “100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen,” which is covered with different kinds of cookies.
The cover of “100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen,” which is covered with different kinds of cookies.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Keiffer

Beloved baker Sarah Kieffer (The Vanilla Bean Blog) produced universal shock and awe in the cooking and baking community with her “pan banging” technique, in which she taps her cookie sheet in the oven every few minutes during the baking process, causing the cookies to fall and creating two textures: a crisp outer edge and a soft, gooey center (i.e., nirvana).

This month, Kieffer’s bible of cookies is being released to the world. The book, 100 Cookies, is an excellent staple, comprising classics, tons of different kinds of brownies and blondies, and multiple pan-bangers, plus more time-consuming treats for the…


Cooking For Joy

Nostalgia baking during quarantine

Photo: Marie Elena Martinez

Shortly before Mother’s Day, after my daughter and I folded my solo-quarantining mother into our #quaranteam, I spent a good bit of time thinking about what to get her, besides the same-old-same-old flowers. I like to gift shared experiences to my parents — a Broadway show, a concert, a trip to an exhibition, a fishing trip, a spa treatment — but given the state of the world, it felt like something homemade would be more appropriate.

As I rummaged through my cabinets to see what random ingredients might spark joyful memories and inspire some cooking, I found my muse in…


Q&A

The surprising delights of Zooies Cookies

Photo: Zooies Cookies via Instagram

A West Los Angeles United Oil gas station is an unlikely a cookie destination, where five full-time bakers make 30 to 40 varieties, including gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and diabetic-friendly options. Zooies Cookies tucks inside the gas station’s convenience store, where customers pay for premium unleaded and can choose among cookies inspired by peanut butter and jelly, birthday cake, or baklava.

Zooies been around for a couple of years, since the family moved from San Diego to Los Angeles. And it’s been under the radar until recently.

“The first time I came here, I was like, eh, I don’t need to…


Chewy or crisp, layered with oats or double chocolate

Jessica Goodman for Getty Images

Drop cookies like this one are truly the easiest of the easy: Mix the dough, then drop by the teaspoon or tablespoon onto baking sheets. Many of these doughs are incredibly versatile, letting you add and swap ingredients to get just the flavor combination you want. If you’re a cookie neophyte, this is where you want to start.

Onto the chocolate chunk cookies: Chewy in the middle, crisp at the edges, and full of real chocolate flavor, these cookies will make you forget all about waxy, bland chocolate chips. Use whatever chocolate you like best: I always go dark. Chopping…


The story behind the sweetest grave in Brooklyn

Photo via Green-Wood Cemetery tweet.

Naomi Odessa Miller-Dawson’s grave in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is marked by a three-foot-tall piece of stone carved to resemble an open book. Etched into the pages for all eternity is a recipe for spritz cookies. But what do measurements of butter, flour, and eggs say about a life?

The headstone is the brainchild of two of her children. …


Holiday Baking

The most versatile cookie in your repertoire

a_namenko for Getty Images

Now here’s a perfect cookie for dunking in coffee and wine, so it’s a good one for dinner parties and the morning after. To add nuts or anything else, see the list that follows, or try your own stir-ins.

Biscotti

Makes:3 to 4 dozen

Time: About 1 ¼ hours

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pans

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the baking sheets

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

1 or 2 tablespoons milk if necessary

Instructions

Heat the oven to 375°F. Use…


Holiday Baking

The kind that are super crisp are best

There are basically two types of cookies: drop cookies and refrigerator cookies. Drop cookies are usually made just before baking. In fact, they can (and should) be made as the oven is preheating. They are soft, buttery, sweet, and, because they have height, perfect for containing other ingredients. The chocolate chip is the paradigm of drop cookies.

To adjust any drop cookie recipe to your personal taste, remember this: Butter makes cookies tender, flour makes them cakey, shorter cooking times (within reason, of course) produce chewier cookies, and longer ones make them crispier.

Refrigerator cookies — also called rolled cookies…


Take your eggnog and shove it. I’m here for the shortbread

The Christmas 2015 cookie platter, featuring whiskey and rye chocolate chips, peanut butter blossoms, gingers, and lemon ricottas. All photos by Annie Siebert.

This is not the most wonderful time of the year.

The most wonderful time of the year is August — well, at least in the U.S. Northeast — when it’s possible to pluck from your backyard garden all the tomatoes and herbs you need for dinner.

Christmastime is not magical to me. For one, I’m not a Christian. Furthermore, I live in Pittsburgh, which (especially of late) doesn’t get picturesque white Christmases — it’s just gray and rainy. My parents’ divorce when I was a child, followed by my mother’s death when I was 16, meant holidays were always different…

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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