I want to show you more of the fantastic cookies I’ve made. These all fall into the “cover and chill dough” category, with varying degrees of complexity. Planning is involved: mix the dough (late at night?), wrap it, put it in the fridge. Next day, shape, bake, and cool those cookies. They will be all over place, on multiple racks, waiting to be devoured.

Brown Butter Chai SnickerdoodlesFirst, the “Brown Butter Chai Snickerdoodles,” from Tutti Dolci. These are “double hype” cookies, according to me. Let me explain. First, there’s the “brown butter” hype that’s been all the rage in blog-baking for some time, now. I doubled this recipe, so I needed to simmer and stir four sticks of butter, until it hit that clear, deep brown color. After all that, I needed to freeze that brown butter(!) for an hour, before it was mixed with the dough. What does this do for our cookies? Well, they are super-buttered, obviously.

The second “hype” is chai sugar. This is a dreamy, powdery mix of sugar and cinnamon and ginger and cardamom and cloves and nutmeg in which you roll your dough balls before they bake. See what you get? They are delightful, and there’s no need to explain the intricacies to your diners, really, because the cookies will be swallowed whole, with extreme enthusiasm.

Cranberry Polenta CookiesNext, the “Cranberry Polenta Cookies,” from Cuisine at Home (recipe below). This cookie allowed me to employ my favorite “paper towel roll” method. The dough is chilled in a plastic-wrapped log, then squeezed into an empty towel roll. It chills that way, then is pulled out of the roll to slice and bake.

Cranberry Polenta Cookies
Cuisine at Home, December 2016
Makes 64 cookies

CREAM:
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
WHISK:
2 eggs
½ tsp. pure almond extract
3 tsp. each minced orange and lemon zest
COMBINE:
1½ cups polenta or cornmeal
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. table salt
2/3 cup chopped dried cranberries

Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.

Whisk together eggs and almond extract, then add to butter mixture along with zests; beat in the mixer on high speed until combined. Combine polenta, flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in cranberries.

Shape dough into two separate 8x2-inch logs, wrap them each in plastic wrap, squeeze them into two separate empty cardboard paper towel rolls and chill until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment. Slice dough logs into ¼-inch thick cookies, rotating the dough log a quarter turn after each slice; bake until firm to the touch, 10-12 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a cooling rack, 5-10 minutes.

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I was excited to use two underutilized cookie ingredients, here: polenta and dried cranberries. And sure enough, these gave my cookies a surprising texture and flavor. All of that fruit zest made these “wow” cookies.

Matcha White Chocolate Sugar CookiesNow, let me show you a green cookie. I was excited to make use of the powdered green tea that is “matcha,” in the “Matcha White Chocolate Sugar Cookies,” from Bön Appetit.

I doubled this recipe, so there was a lot of butter (four-and-a-half sticks) and 4 tsp. of lemon zest. I chopped the white chocolate and blended it into my green dough, which refrigerated overnight.

The baked cookies needed to be immediately tossed in a sugar/matcha mixture, so there’s a bit of anxiety there. But it’s not too scary. The white chocolate sort of melted/blended into the cookie, so it was a secret, in there. These are really good. Get over the greenness.

Rose Water Shortbread CookiesNext, I stepped into the “gluten-free” cookie realm. Bön Appetit’s “Rose Water Shortbread Cookies” ask for white rice flour, which is a kick. There’s nothing to be afraid of, though. It’s cookie dough, after all.

After chilling overnight, I rolled balls of dough, then forked them. And then, poppy seeds! The cardamom + rose water gives these cookies a certain flowery scent/flavor. A nice diversion, for sure.

Rosemary Sugar CookiesNow, let me show you the fussiest -- and best -- cookie I’ve made. The “Rosemary Sugar Cookies,” from Fine Cooking, asked for mixing, chilling, rolling, slicing, re-chilling, then baking. What a pain, right?

What saved me, was the crudeness that was allowed. I rolled a disc of chilled dough between layers of parchment paper, then sliced with a pizza cutter, unworried about the rough shapes that resulted.

These cookies were treated to an egg wash, a bit of rosemary garnish, and a generous sprinkle of sparkling sugar.

Fuss, fuss, fuss, indeed. But what do we get? Take a bite, and sigh with the butter and the sugar and the rosemary. We are beyond happy. We are dizzy and relieved.

Snow-Capped GingersnapsNext is a cookie that wins with all of its over-the-top magic. The “Snow-Capped Gingersnaps,” from Liv for Cake, are not just gingersnaps. Oh, no. I got to make a perfect gingersnap, with cinnamon and ginger and cloves and brown sugar and molasses and crystallized ginger.

I rolled the chilled dough balls in sugar, then baked and cooled and the cookies.

Let’s talk about the indulgence of melted white chocolate. I broke up a whole lot of white chocolate into a microwaveable bowl, and topped it off with tablespoons of vegetable shortening. After melting and stirring in 15-second bursts, I had a creamy bowl of loveliness.

I dipped my cookies into the chocolate, set them onto cooling racks and topped them with more of that crystallized ginger. Wowee. Fear not. It won’t take too long for these cookies to set into these incredible, crowd-pleasing cookies. You’ll want to eat these all day long. They’re that magnificent.

Pomegranate ThumbprintsAnd speaking of magnificence, I made the “Pomegranate Thumbprints with Pine Nuts,” from Cuisine at Home, because of the those two ingredients, primarily, and because I couldn’t do this cookie thing without including some thumbprints.

Pomegranate Thumbprints with Pine Nuts
Cuisine at Home, December 2016
Makes 48 cookies

FOR THE DOUGH, WHISK:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. table salt
CREAM:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (16 Tbsp.)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. water
2 cups pine nuts, chopped
FOR THE FILLING, HEAT:
2/3 cup pomegranate juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

FOR THE DOUGH: Whisk together flour and salt.
Cream butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add egg yolks and vanilla; beat on low speed until blended.
Add flour mixture to creamed mixture; beat on low speed until combined. Cover dough in plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour.

FOR THE FILLING: Heat pomegranate juice and 2/3 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high; bring to a boil, stirring often to dissolve sugar. Whisk cornstarch with lemon juice, whisk into boiling mixture, and cook until filling is very thick and syrupy, 6-8 minutes; set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

FOR THE COOKIES: Whisk egg whites and water in a small bowl until frothy.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in nuts.
Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets. Indent each cookie with a teaspoon measure.
Bake cookies until edges are set, 12-14 minutes. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Indent cookies again if needed. Spoon filling into indentations and cool completely.

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Always enchanted by pine nuts, it was easy for me to try this cookie. After chilling the dough, I adopted the cookie rhythm of shaping the ball, dipping in egg whites, rolling in pine nuts. Remember to indent those dough balls with a teaspoon print, before they bake.

I like how I got to make my own pomegranate syrup (easy), then spoon it into my cookie tops after they baked.

These cookies sure are pretty to look at.

Let’s take a break. Come back to my site in a few days, to see the final batch of all my cookies.