The Most Incredible Holiday Cookies Ever

The Most Incredible Holiday Cookies Ever

Good morning. Susan Spungen gave us a Christmas gift this week, gave it to the whole world: a package of modern cookie recipes, starring the fantastic sugar cookies you see can see above these words. Susan’s an artist and food stylist, a recipe developer and former lieutenant at Martha Stewart Living. She is also a cookie maven of the very first order.

I think you’ll thrill this holiday season to her dirty chai earthquake cookies and to her marbled tahini cookies, not to mention her peanut shortbread with honeycomb, her brown sugar-anise cookies and her thumbprint cookies with dulce de leche, Nutella or jam.

I hope you’ll make her basic sugar cookies that are really not basic at all. You can turn them into color-field cookies, into abstract art cookies, or into those peppermint stripe cookies (above) that are inspired by a series of brush-stroke paintings by Ellsworth Kelly. (Cooking is culture, and don’t you forget it!)

And I’m betting you’ll want to make her stamped citrus shortbread at some point before the end of the year, her homemade Pocky, her gingery brownie crinkle cookies. Will you try these amazing blood orange poppy seed window cookies? I think those would make a fantastic project this weekend.

Speaking of? Dorie Greenspan has a terrific new piece in The Times this week, “How to Bake the Perfect Madeleine.” Read that, and then make her recipe for Earl Grey madeleines. In 2020, with Dorie as my witness, you will make those again and again.

So that’s dessert sorted, and afternoon teas as well. How about dinner these next couple days? I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving, so a Mississippi roast is out. (At least until Sunday. That’s a very good recipe, and the leftovers make incredible sandwiches.) So too the turkey-meat curries and gumbos I’ve been consuming for the past week, the stuffing waffles and the mashed potato pancakes. No more!

Instead, I want to eat the cabbage salad that Angela Dimayuga and Danny Bowien had on the menu at Mission Chinese Food in New York, back when Angela was cooking there, and it seemed as if anything could happen: a Japanese ode to umami, one of the great salads of all time. You could serve it with teriyaki. But it’s a strong character, that salad, self-coupled. It can live on its own.

Maybe spaghetti carbonara? Stir-fried green beans with tofu and chiles? Jerusalem grill? There are thousands and thousands of other ideas for what to cook this weekend waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go take a look and see what winds your clock. (You need a subscription to do that, just as people need lift tickets to get to the top of Alta, which is by the way open. Say hey to my guy Peri Ermidis at Shallow Shaft afterward, score a good glass of wine. Or you could buy a loved one a gift subscription instead, stay home and watch television.)

Come find us on Facebook while you’re surfing around, and on Instagram and YouTube, too. You’ll find all manner of hands-and-pans cookie content going on over there, along with an informative visit with La Spungen herself.

Absolutely get in touch with us if you have a problem with your cooking or our technology: We will get back to you. You can punch me in the face if you’re angry: (I also accept compliments if you’re in the mood.)

Finally, and it has nothing to do with icing or wheat germ, but how about this new Barbara Ehrenreich essay in The Baffler, “The Humanoid Stain,” on cave art and selfies?

“With so much churning and relocating going on,” she writes, “it’s possible that Paleolithic people could conceive of returning to a decorated cave or, in an even greater leap of the imagination, foresee visits by others like themselves. If so, the cave art should be thought of as a sort of hard drive and the paintings as information: not just, ‘Here are some of the animals you will encounter around here,’ but Here we are, creatures like yourselves, and this is what we know.” See you on Sunday!

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