Let's face it, cookies can be boring. Butter, eggs, flour, vanilla, maybe some raisins or chocolate chips. Good, basic and easy to make (and pack in a lunchbox) but after a while: boring.
But there are amazing cookies out there to be discovered at restaurants that don't sneer at cookies as plebeian and at sweet shops that specialize in super-premium ingredients.
With an eye on the calendar and the thermometer, we here at Bee Cookie Central have been saving up special recipes for baking season.
Two of the recipes were requested by readers of the Los Angeles Times. (Note that the compost cookies include just about everything that could spoil your dinner.)
The two other recipes are full of chocolaty goodness (and calories, too). One was created by the Associated Press in tribute to the mint chocolate treat known as grasshopper pie; the other was dreamed up by a 10-year-old cook who was trying to create a candy bar.
Consider yourself warned.
Kathy Morrison, Bee staff
Momofuku Milk Bar's compost cookies
Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus chilling and cooling times
Makes 15 to 20 cookies
Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. Glucose, mini-chocolate chips and mini-butterscotch chips are available at baking and cooking supply stores.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup milk powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter, more if needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons glucose or light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips
1/2 cup (1/4 of recipe above) graham crust
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 1/2 teaspoons ground coffee
2 cups potato chips
1 cup mini pretzels
For graham crust: In a medium bowl, toss together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt with your hands to evenly distribute.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters. The mixture should hold its shape if squeezed tightly in the palm of your hand. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and mix it into the crust base.
This makes about 2 cups crust base, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. Eat the remainder, or use as desired in other recipes. Store in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature, or for one month in the refrigerator or freezer.
For cookies: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars and glucose on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for an additional 7 to 8 minutes.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute, being careful not to overmix the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Still on low speed, add the chocolate and butterscotch chips, the graham crust, oats and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Add the potato chips and pretzels and beat, still on low speed, just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix or break too many of the pretzels or potato chips. (You deserve a pat on the back if one of your cookies bakes off with a whole pretzel standing up in the center.)
Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or a 1/3-cup measure, portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing each portion roughly 4 inches apart. Pat the tops of the cookie-dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, up to one week. Do not bake the cookies while at room temperature they will not bake up properly.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the cookies, one tray at a time on the center rack, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through baking for even cooking. The cookies will puff, crackle and spread while baking, and should be very faintly browned on the edges, yet still bright in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if needed.
Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage.
At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; frozen, they will keep for up to 1 month.
Each of 20 cookies: 337 calories; 3 grams protein; 47 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 16 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 36 mg cholesterol; 28 grams sugar; 288 mg sodium.