Recipes

Sweet stress busters: Holiday cookies deliver more than taste

Lemon ricotta buttercream sandwich cookies
Lemon ricotta buttercream sandwich cookies Washington Post

You look like you need a cookie.

Nothing quite buoys our spirits like a sweet little treat. During the holiday season, we like to give cookies almost as much as we like to munch, spreading some edible cheer. According to a study by OnePoll.com, three out of every four Americans would consider giving cookies as a holiday gift. And even more expect to eat some.

Why? Besides the obvious appeal to our national sweet tooth, cookies pack some emotional extras, triggering fond memories and feelings of well being. Nearly four out of five Americans say a good cookie definitely can make them feel happy. According to the same study, almost two-thirds of adults associate cookies with a sense of comfort; even more say that a good cookie is an automatic mood lifter. One out of every three people say a cookie break helps them relax.

Doesn’t that sound like a good excuse for a cookie right now?

The holiday baking season gives us more proof that we are a cookie nation. Less than 1 percent of Americans say they don’t like cookies. What other gift ideas have that kind of baked-in appeal?

Be it basic chocolate chip or delicate macaroons, cookies rank as our favorite quick dessert or snack. An average American will consume roughly 19,000 cookies in adulthood. That’s about a cookie a day from age 18 to 70.

And if you guessed that cookie consumption tends to peak in December, grab another snickerdoodle. That combination of gifting and needed stress relief puts us in a serious baking mode for something that brings smiles.

Looking for some fresh ideas for your cookie tray? Here are a selection of old and new favorites, compiled by The Washington Post for its 13th annual holiday cookie collection.

So, what are you waiting for? Preheat that oven and make someone happy – starting with you.

Bettyanne’s Florentines

Yield: 36 to 40 cookies.

These buttery-tasting, crispy-crunchy cookies couldn’t be easier to make. Some folks coat the florentine bottoms with dark or white chocolate, but we like these just as they are.

You will need a nonstick, 12-well muffin pan, or you can use a regular muffin pan and foil baking cup liners.

Make ahead: Store between layers of parchment or wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature. These freeze well, for up to 3 months; bring to room temperature before serving.

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, home baker Bettyanne Hershfield.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 1/2 cups skinless sliced blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and honey; stir until dissolved and smooth. Stir in the heavy cream for a few minutes, forming a light caramel. Turn off the heat. Stir in the almonds until they are all well coated.

Use about a third of the mixture to fill the bottoms of the muffin wells, compacting each portion into a disk. Bake (middle rack) for 8 to 9 minutes, until bubbling and just golden brown at the edges.

Let cool in the muffin pan for 7 to 10 minutes, then use a small offset spatula or table knife to release each florentine; some may still be a little flexible. Transfer to a sheet of parchment or wax paper to cool and set completely.

Repeat with the remaining almond mixture. If you are using foil liners, replace with new ones for subsequent batches.

Nutrition | Per cookie (based on 40): 170 calories, 4 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar

Beer and Pretzel Truffles

Yield: 14 to 16 pieces.

The ganache for chocolate truffles is typically made with heavy cream, but beer is used here instead – adding a rich, deep flavor.

Make ahead: The truffle mixture needs to be refrigerated for 2 to 3 hours, so it sets up firmly.

Adapted from “Baker’s Royale: 75 Twists on All Your Favorite Sweets,” by Naomi Robinson (Running Press, 2017).

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup stout

2 ounces salted pretzels

Place the chopped chocolate in a large shallow heatproof bowl. Pour the stout into a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it has reduced by half. Pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes, then gently stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, until set.

Seal the pretzels in a zip-top bag. Crush them to the consistency of coarse crumbs.

Line a quarter baking sheet (13-by-9-inch) with parchment paper.

Use a melon baller to scoop out 1 1/4-inch wide balls of the truffle mixture (14 to 16) then coat each one with the crushed pretzels, arranging the truffles on the small baking sheet. If the truffle mixture becomes soft as you work, pop it back in the refrigerator until it is well chilled again.

Cover and refrigerate the truffles to firm them up; for best flavor, let the truffles sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition | Per piece (based on 16): 80 calories, 2 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

Biscochitos

Yield: 60 to 72 cookies.

These not-too-sweet, anise-flavored Mexican treats happen to be New Mexico’s official state cookie. Lard makes for an especially crisp and light texture, but vegetable shortening can be used instead.

You’ll need one or two 2-inch cookie cutters, preferably stars and half moons. You may get an even greater yield depending on which shapes you use.

Make ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day in advance. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month. You may have cinnamon sugar left over; it’s not tough to find ways to use that up.

From the December 2001 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

1 1/4 cups lard, at room temperature (may substitute vegetable shortening)

1 cup sugar, plus 3/4 cup for sprinkling

1 large egg

2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Finely grated zest of 1 navel orange

3 cups flour, plus more for the work surface

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 to 4 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons anise seed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the lard and cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until lightened. Add the egg, liqueur, vanilla extract and zest; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the bowl, then just enough of the water to form a dough. Add the anise seed and beat (low speed) just until well distributed.

Divide the dough into two equal 1-inch-thick disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day.

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Lightly flour a work surface. Unwrap and roll out one disk of dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Use the cookie cutters to cut out shapes, transferring the cookies to the baking sheets and spacing them about 1 inch apart. If the dough is still fairly chilled/firm, it can be rerolled a few times; otherwise, gather together and refrigerate for 15 minutes before rerolling scraps.

Stir together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon mixture over each cookie cutout.

Bake (upper and lower racks) for 10 to 12 minutes, until just set and lightly golden, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing. Repeat with the remaining disk of dough.

Nutrition | Per cookie (based on 72, using half the cinnamon sugar): 70 calories, 0 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugar

Cardamom and Currant Snickerdoodle Skillet Cookie

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

This recipe combines the snickerdoodle spice so many people love with the ease of a skillet cookie.

Make ahead: Wedges of this skillet cookie should be cut as soon as you can, rather than storing the uncut slab from the skillet.

Adapted from a holiday recipe at TheFeedFeed.com.

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (a scant 1/2 cup) dried currants

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, all the cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of the cardamom in a medium bowl. Sprinkle half this mixture in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet.

Combine the butter, the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer. Beat on medium-low speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour, cream of tartar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom, the baking soda and salt; beat on medium speed to form a dough that gathers together. Reduce the speed to low; add the currants and beat until just evenly distributed.

Gently press the dough into the skillet in an even layer, trying to keep that bottom coating of spiced sugar in place. Sprinkle the remaining spiced sugar mixture evenly over the top. Bake (middle rack) for about 40 minutes; if it seems like it’s browning too quickly, lay a large piece of aluminum foil over the top.

Let cool in the pan (where it will continue to bake a little) for at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 10): 260 calories, 4 g protein, 39 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 24 g sugar

Cranberry Divinity

Yield: 24 to 30 pieces.

This creamy sweet confection first appeared in the 1950 edition of “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book.” Chopped pecans are typically mixed in, but we’ve used dried cranberries instead for a festive Christmas touch.

You’ll need an instant-read or candy thermometer.

Make ahead: The divinity can be stored between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two; it will become chewier over time.

Adapted from “Betty Crocker Lost Recipes: Beloved Vintage Recipes for Today’s Kitchen” (Betty Crocker, 2017).

2 large egg whites

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup light corn syrup

2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Line two baking sheets with wax paper.

Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or use a handheld electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

Combine the water, corn syrup, sugar and salt, if using, in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook, without stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until the temperature of the mixture registers 250 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer.

While the egg whites are being beaten on high speed, gradually add the syrup mixture. Beat for a total of 9 or 10 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. The surface of the meringue mixture will turn from glossy to textured.

Use a spatula to fold in the vanilla extract and dried cranberries by hand, then quickly create 24 to 30 rounded teaspoonfuls on the baking sheets. Let stand for about 30 minutes, or until completely set, before serving or storing.

Nutrition | Per piece (based on 30): 80 calories, 0 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 20 g sugar

Ginger Ginger Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies.

These slice-and-bake cookies are crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. They have the added zip of crystallized ginger.

We found that chilling a wrapped log of dough seated inside a cardboard tube (from a paper towel roll) that has been split open end-to-end will ensure the logs keep their rounded shape.

Make ahead: The logs of dough need to be refrigerated for a total of 3 hours, or up to overnight. The logs also can be frozen for up to 3 months; defrost frozen logs for 3 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Adapted from “Slice and Bake Cookies: Fast Recipes From Your Refrigerator or Freezer” by Elinor Klivans (Chronicle, 2013).

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Combine the oil, molasses, brown sugar and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a handheld electric mixer; beat for about 20 seconds on medium speed until smooth. Reduce the speed to low; add the flour mixture, beating just long enough to form a dough with no trace of dry ingredients.

Divide the dough in half, and place each portion on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape each one into a 12-inch log, then sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar over each one, rolling it back and forth until evenly coated. Next, use half the chopped crystallized ginger to sprinkle over the logs; roll them back and forth to press in and coat evenly. Wrap in plastic wrap and seat each log inside one of the split cardboard tubes. Refrigerate for 3 hours, or up to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Unwrap the logs. Cut each one into 12 equal slices, spacing them on the baking sheets at least 1 inch apart. Sprinkle them with the remaining granulated sugar and the remaining chopped crystallized ginger. Bake (middle rack) one sheet at a time, for 10 minutes, until they flatten a bit and cracks form on the tops. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutrition | Per cookie: 150 calories, 1 g protein, 26 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 125 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugar

Lemon Ricotta Buttercream Sandwich Cookies

Yield: 30 sandwich cookies.

The best of sweet and tart flavors work together here, in the glaze on top and the whipped filling sandwiched between tender, lemon-infused cookies.

Make ahead: The sandwich cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days; for longer-term storage, we recommend keeping the single cookies (half of them with glazed tops) stored separately at room temperature for up to 10 days, and refrigerating the ricotta buttercream filling for up to 1 week; assemble just before serving.

Adapted from “MasterChef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks” (Clarkson Potter, 2017).

For the cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon finely grated zest plus 3 tablespoons juice (from 1 lemon)

For the filling

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons heavy cream

7 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese

Scrapings of 1/2 vanilla bean

For the glaze

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated zest plus 3 tablespoons juice (from 1 lemon)

For the cookies: Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until lightened. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the lemon zest and juice, beating to incorporate. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Transfer the dough to a large piping bag fitted with a 1M open star tip; alternatively, fill a gallon-size zip-top bag with the dough and cut off one bottom corner. Pipe a dozen 2-inch rounds on each baking sheet, and the remaining 6 rounds on the third baking sheet, spacing the rounds at least 2 inches apart (these cookies will spread). Bake (upper and lower racks) for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. The cookies will be pale and barely golden at the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough to create a total of 60 cookies.

For the filling: Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment, or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium-high speed until creamy. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the heavy cream, ricotta and vanilla bean scrapings, then beat on low speed until well incorporated.

For the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and juice in a medium bowl, until smooth.

When ready to assemble, invert half the cookies. Spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on each one. Top with the remaining cookies. Use a pastry brush or your clean finger to coat the top of each sandwich cookie with the glaze. Wait for it to set before serving or storing.

Nutrition | Per sandwich cookie: 260 calories, 2 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 50 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 24 g sugar

Nutella Stuffed Skillet Cookie

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

Skillet cookies are popular for a reason — there’s little or no portioning of dough, and the resulting wedges are fun to serve.

We recommend using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet here, or an ovenproof nonstick skillet. The dough can also be assembled by hand.

If Nutella isn’t your thing, use fudge or caramel instead.

Make ahead: The cookie is best served when barely warm, but once it’s completely cooled, it can be transferred to a plate, covered with aluminum foil and stored at room temperature for a day or two.

Adapted from “Cast Iron Gourmet: Amazing Recipes With Less Fuss and Fewer Dishes,” by Megan Keno (Page Street Publishing, 2017).

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup Nutella or other chocolate-hazelnut spread (see headnote)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Have a 10-inch cast-iron skillet at hand.

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to medium-low; add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Beat on medium-low speed to form a firm dough, then add the chocolate chips and beat on low speed just until evenly distributed.

Press half the cookie dough into the bottom of the skillet. Spread the Nutella evenly over that dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin around the edge. (This is easy to do with an offset spatula.) Top with the remaining cookie dough, making sure to cover the Nutella completely at the edges - sealing them, if you can.

Bake (middle rack) for about 25 minutes; the edges will be golden brown, and the top will look slightly underbaked, yet it should be fairly firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; the residual heat from the pan should continue to cook the cookie for a bit. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 12): 610 calories, 6 g protein, 82 g carbohydrates, 31 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 70 mg cholesterol, 105 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 61 g sugar

Pecan Sandies

Yield: 24 cookies.

The combination of sweet toasted nuts, butter and sugar is a winner; the variation included below adds smoky bits of bacon! This is an egg-free dough that doesn’t need chilling time.

If you decide to use bacon, be sure to use a good-quality brand.

Make ahead: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Demerara sugar is a raw, coarse-crystal brown sugar that delivers nice exterior crunch and color. It is carried in most supermarkets.

Adapted from “Zingerman’s Bakehouse” by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo (Chronicle, 2017).

1 1/4 cups raw pecan halves

18 tablespoons (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

Sea salt, for sprinkling

Demerara sugar, for sprinkling (see headnote)

Preheat the oven 325 degrees F. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Spread the pecans on one of the sheets; toast in the oven (middle rack) for 10 to 12 minutes, checking on them after 8 minutes. They should be fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely, then coarsely chop to pea-size.

Combine the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until creamy and lightened. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the water and vanilla extract, beating (low speed) to incorporate, then add the flour and chopped pecans. Beat until evenly incorporated.

Scoop the dough into 1-ounce portions (or use 2 tablespoons’ worth) to roll into 24 equal balls. Arrange them on the baking sheets, pressing each ball slightly with the palm of your hand. Space the balls at least 1 1/2 inches apart.

Sprinkle each portion with a little of the salt and a liberal amount of Demerara sugar. Bake one sheet at a time (middle rack) for 16 to 18 minutes, until light brown on top and golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Variation: Cook 3 slices of bacon, starting in a cold skillet over medium heat. Drain on paper towels, then chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Add to the dough along with the chopped pecans.

Nutrition | Per cookie: 170 calories, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar

Smoky S’mores Bars

Yield: 24 bars.

These may evoke campfire memories for you — with easy assembly. The smoky flavor comes from a sprinkling of smoked sea salt.

Make ahead: The slab needs to be refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours, until firm, before cutting into bars.

Adapted from “Delightful Desserts: The Secrets to Achieving Incredible Flavor in Your Sweet Treats” by Jane Soudah (YC Media, 2017).

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, plus 2 cups broken graham cracker pieces (7 to 8 sheets)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream, heated to just below a full boil

4 cups mini marshmallows

3/4 teaspoon smoked flaked salt, such as Maldon brand

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and kosher salt in a mixing bowl, stirring until evenly coated, then press them evenly into the baking pan. Bake (middle rack) for 15 to 20 minutes, to form a lightly golden crust. Let cool.

Combine the bittersweet and milk chocolate chips in a separate, heatproof mixing bowl. Pour the heated heavy cream over the chocolate chips; let sit for 5 minutes (so the chocolate melts), then whisk to form a smooth ganache.

Add the mini marshmallows and graham cracker pieces, stirring to coat well. Pour this mixture over the baked crust, then sprinkle the top with the smoked salt. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, until firm, before cutting into 24 pieces.

Nutrition | Per bar: 260 calories, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugar

Toasted Marshmallow Brownie Krinkles

Yield: 35 to 42 cookies.

As much as we love chocolate crinkle cookies, topping them with marshmallows that get melty and chewy makes these classic treats even better.

Make ahead: The dough needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Adapted from a Mindy Segal recipe in “America the Great Cookbook: The Food We Make for the People We Love From 100 of Our Finest Chefs and Food Heroes” edited by Joe Yonan (Weldon Owen, 2017).

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

13/4 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1/2 cup canola or sunflower oil

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

35 to 42 marshmallows (not mini)

Whisk together the eggs and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup; whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and both salts in a medium bowl.

Combine the oil and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed to blend well, then add the egg-vanilla mixture in 3 additions, and the melted chocolate. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

Add the flour mixture; beat for about 30 seconds on low speed, or just long enough to form a dough that looks like brownie batter. Do not overmix. Gather the dough together, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a few large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a quart-size zip-top bag.

Working with 4 or 5 at a time, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into the bag (or use a (hash)40 disher), then shake gently until thoroughly coated. Shake off any excess sugar, then arrange them on the baking sheets spaced 2 inches apart. Press on the tops of each one to form a large thumbprint/indentation, then press a marshmallow into that indentation. Bake (upper and lower racks) for 8 minutes, then rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back; bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the cookies develop cracks (crinkles) and the marshmallow deflates and browns a bit.

Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing. Repeat with the remaining dough and marshmallows.

Nutrition | Per cookie (based on 42): 130 calories, 2 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugar

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