Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

Blog / The Best Cookies In The World

Brief update, plus cookies

Yes, the revision is going great! I got *so much done* this past Sunday because it was cold and nasty and I didn’t want to leave the house anyway. I have twelve bulleted points left to fix, but the big ones are done and most of the rest will be quick.

Well, yes, one of them requires me to write a whole new scene, but I know where to PUT the new scene, which is half the battle! (A small half, admittedly.) Plus, writing a new scene is often kind of the fun part of revising.

I think . . . I think . . . yeah, not much chance of getting this all the way done before Thanksgiving, but maybe by the end of the long weekend and ALMOST CERTAINLY before December 1st. Which is fabulous! THEN I can read, oh, I don’t know, THE CHOCOLATE HEART by Laura Florand, before really getting into the real WIP.

The last thing for this revision will be, or ought to be, a complete read-through from top to bottom, adjusting this and tweaking that. If I have the patience. Which I guess I do. Sigh.

Okay, in the meantime, cookies! Because it is definitely cookie season, right? Plus I promised to bring The Best Cookies In The World to the Cavalier party on the 8th, so gotta get it in gear.

So I made these today. I don’t know if these are The Best, but they are new to me and interesting. They will freeze well because they are shortbread cookies and shortbread cookies always freeze well. I got the recipe from somewhere. Epicurious? Bon Appetit? Sorry, I don’t remember, but now that I have searched, I see they are around here and there on the web, so I guess it’s okay to post the recipe here, too. Besides, I’m changing the directions kind of a lot, though the ingredients are the same, and I will also suggest a possible glaze, though I haven’t tried that yet.

You may like these, though they are weird. This is a cookie where you eat one and then pause. The flavors sort of develop gently over a minute or so. I would say that these are for adults, unless you have kids with unusually adventurous palates.

Curry Shortbread Cookies

2 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp Madras curry powder
2 sticks butter
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 C flour

Heat a small skillet for a couple of minutes and toast the coriander seeds for two minutes, shaking the skillet frequently. Pour seeds onto a plate and let cool. Toast the curry powder — I made mine, with coriander, mustard seed, cumin seed, cloves, fenugreek, dried cayenne chilies, and turmeric, but I am sure you can use any Madras-ish curry powder you like — for fifteen seconds or a bit longer. The recipe said a minute but I think my skillet was a bit hotter than theirs.

Grind the coriander seeds in your handy Preethi spice grinder, which is one of the more delightful kitchen gadgets you can have, btw. Or grind them somehow. A mortar and pestle, maybe even a food processor, whatever. I suppose in a pinch you could use ground coriander, but that would be a much, much finer grind and produce a different effect in the finished cookies.

Soften the butter — fifteen seconds in the microwave gets the job done if you forget to set it out a couple of hours beforehand. I always just microwave the butter. Don’t get distracted, though. Melted butter does NOT behave like softened butter in cookies. (Ask me how I know.)

Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Combine the spices, salt, and flour. Add that mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic and chill an hour or longer. If you chill this particular dough overnight, you may want to let it set at room temp for a couple of hours so it will be easier to work with, but that is strictly up to you because it’s fine either way.

Anyway, divide the dough into fourths. Now into eights. Now you can take each of those portions and make it into eight little balls. The original recipe said to make 38 1-inch balls, but I wanted at least five dozen cookies, so as you see, I made 64.

Place the balls on cookie sheets as you go. I lined the baking sheets with parchment paper because I always do, but in fact shortbread cookies are not likely to stick anyway. When you’ve made all the balls, take a small glass or whatever, dip it in flour, and gently press each ball into a rather thick disk. This is not rocket science, but I think my disks were between 3/4 of an inch and an inch across before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. The original recipe says 20-25 minutes, but those cookies were bigger. I suggest you look at yours after 10 minutes, but I expect you will not take them out quite that soon. Cool before removing to racks, because they’re pretty fragile when hot.

Now, as you may know, coriander seeds have a sort of citrus-y resin-y flavor. If you want to drizzle a glaze across these cookies, one option is to bring out the citrus a bit and use orange juice plus powdered sugar to make a glaze. Or, since there is vanilla in these cookies, milk plus vanilla plus powdered sugar. Either way, I think these cookies would be pretty if you pipe thin stripes of the glaze across the cookies. You could even add a dab of orange food coloring to the glaze, but maybe that is too Halloween-y for the season. Yellow, maybe, for the curry.

If you don’t have a decorating set, or don’t want to bother getting it out, get a large piece of plastic wrap, double it over, poke a hole in the middle with your thinnest knife, spoon the glaze onto the plastic, and presto! A pastry bag, quite suitable for piping glaze across cookies.

If you try these, I’d be interested in what you think. *I* think they are quite good, and I do remember that the original recipe declared that the test kitchen filled up with fans. If you are the sort of person who likes cayenne in your dark chocolate truffles, I bet you love these.

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3 Comments Brief update, plus cookies

  1. Kristina

    I tried your Chocolate Truffle Cookies last December, and they get my vote as The Best! I’ll be making them again for a party in a couple of weeks.

  2. Rachel

    Hey, thanks! Yes, those cookies get a LOT of votes. I definitely have them on my list to make again this year.

  3. elaine t

    I like the walnut horns, except I make them with pecans. Snow Bites have been very popular, too.

    i’m the only one in the family who likes the chocolate chip with condensed milk and graham crackers. :-( . Fortunately they freeze really well.

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