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These Cookies are the Cat’s Meow: Langues des Chats

Ok, so not so much the cat’s meow as its tongue. Actually, both. These delightful little cookies are fabulous in their crispy, salty-sweet and buttery, decadent Frenchiness. Thus, they’re a most fitting accompaniment to a chocolate pot de creme, but they’re also tremendously useful at dressing up a dessert of store-bought ice cream–and that’s generally how I serve them.

This recipe is a back-hacked version of the divine Clotilde Dusoulier’s, mistress of the wonderful Chocolate & Zucchini. She presented a green tea version several years ago and I was captivated with the idea–though much less with the whole green tea aspect. I’ve been burned too many times by gakkily bitter green tea-flavored sweets to be that into such a thing. Dropped back to it’s ur-version–flecked through with fragrant vanilla bean, though, and we’ve got something special.

Of course, having just poo-poo’d the green tea variation, I now have to admit that the possibilities really are endless: flavor the batter with a bit of cocoa, or orange zest or praline paste; or sandwich them with a bit of melted chocolate for a Pepperidge Farm-spanking Milano; or sprinkle them with black sesame for an elegantly Asian flavor… you get the idea.

Apart from the hour needed to chill the batter, these are quick and fun to make as well. The ones pictured were squeezed directly from a zip-top bag. If you use an actual piping bag and an actual tip, yours will have perfectly even margins. (Mine usually do too; I don’t know WHAT came over me…)

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Keep Your Cool: The Secret to Perfect Sugar Cookies

Since our friend Kate helped us secure the venue for the fundraiser we hosted on Valentine’s Day, I made sure to save her one of the party favors–a little bag of heart-shaped sugar cookies all tied up in a bow. We also managed to pick up, direct from Teuscher in Zurich, a box of her favorite champagne truffles. And even though the truffles really are mind-meltingly delicious, it’s the cookies she was still talking about last week. As in: “Those cookies. You’re going to teach me how to make them, right? Soon, right?”
So. Sunday was cookie-making day here at the PassionFruits kitchen. There are two critical factors at stake, I’ve found, when one wants to produce the perfect rolled sugar cookie–lovely, buttery, crispy, lightly sweet and with beautifully defined edges.

First, on the flavor front, the right recipe is critical. We used a Rose orginal from her Christmas cookie book, no surprise there. These are the only sugar cookies I will deign to make or eat. Why? Because the leavening agents in other recipes leave a nasty metallic flavor that leaves me wanting to sandblast my tongue. Yes, yes, I know, roll your eyes if you must, but trust me, I can taste the baking soda and it does. not. taste. good.

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Strategery: A Weekend of Deep Dark Chocolate Fudge Cookies

chocolatecookie1As Joe’s explained, he spent Saturday morning charming the (presumably argyle) socks off the denizens of Rose Park in Georgetown while I hit a birthday brunch in Dupont. Aside from the scintillating presence of a passionfruit, these events had one other thing in common: Deep Dark Chocolate Fudge Cookies. The batch for sale got studded with white chocolate and dispatched with Joe. The remainder got ground into a crust for a white chocolate birthday cheesecake. When I proudly pointed out how efficient I was being, using one cookie recipe to ground my weekend’s baking, Mr. T. looked at me like I was crazy and then went to bed. But I’m used to that, so it’s all good.

Anyway, to the cookies! These are a no joke winner. Ultimately chocolatey, they have a salty, smoky edge that’s very much au courant. And they’re miracles of texture. Like the Brawny paper towel man, they’re tough but tender… with a soft, compact crumb that is simply delicious. These would be excellent to send somewhere too, as they seem to stand up to all sorts of atmospheric abuse without losing their tasty equanimity.

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To The Icebox! Er, FROM the Icebox!


I’m not sure why “icebox cookies” sound so good. Cookies that are to be baked though icebox seems to conjure up images of Fruit Joe opening up the fridge late at night to swipe a chunk of sitting dough. This habit is hourly when I have dough sitting in the fridge.

Amazed at times that I have enough to bake.

Here’s a recipe from The Stewart – of the “Martha” variety. I know I say some of my recipes are easy–readers may groan–but these are…easy. And I love how well the logs of dough keep in the deep freeze. It’s nice (dare I say, comforting?) having cookie dough on hand…at any time. Read more

Cookies for Your Favorite Able Seaman: Lime Meltaways

limecookies1Though they probably don’t actually prevent scurvy, I’d like to think these sweet-tart little bites do. *Arrrr* I’ve been wanting to try them out for sometime, having seen the raves Deb of Smitten Kitchen gave them ages ago. Originally from Martha, they’re standard icebox cookies (mix, chill, slice, and bake), that get tossed in powdered sugar immediately after baking for a little extra sweetness and to enhance their tender, crumbly, melting texture. The real attraction of these, however, was the key lime aspect.

I love lime, as does Grampy J, who will be getting most of this batch. I thought, though, that while there was zest and juice in the dough, that was not nearly enough. While lime zest is notorious for its irritating habit of getting all brown and gross when baked or left out to oxidize, I decided that MORE ZEST was necessary, both in the dough and in the sugar coating. I figure more zest in the dough would be fine; even if they browned unattractively, the finished cookies would be tossed in sugar. I was slightly concerned about putting zest in the sugar itself–there was none in the original recipe–and I will admit to having visions of brown, bitter zest and clumpy-lumpy sugar.

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A Final Cookie for December. Well, Maybe…

CardSquaresI made these tasty squares for my office holiday party a week ago. I baked these cookies four years ago without the chocolate-espresso icing. This time I opted to spread a little of this icing on one side of the cookie to allow a a bite or two of the cookie with chocolate. The cookie is strong enough (just like Cher) with or without additions. O.K. That’s not true–Cher, not the cookie. Use freshly-ground cardamom It really adds a deep, exotic complexity to the shortbread.

Recipe after the jump.

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Girls, GIrls, GIRLS!!! Pumpkin COOKIES!


I was leafing through a bunch of old recipes my mother brought to me on a recent pilgrimage the rents made to D.C.   I stumbled upon one of my favorite fall desserts that I haven’t had in some time, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

So, here’s the dealio with these moist delights.  A neighbor of ours in Cleveland shared this recipe with us  many, many years ago. I can’t remember the woman’s name, primarily because for years I thought her name was ‘That bitch,” as dubbed by my restless father, anxious to inoculate himself into a soma suburban slumber, devoid of nosy neighbors constantly showing up unannounced;  in our driveway, yard, bedroom doorway.

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‘C’ Is For Cookie


The chocolate chip cookie. Everyone loves them and claims to have “the best recipe.” I admit that I am known to abscond from work to seek out a cookie, one of the most satisfying snacks to have around 3 p.m.  Though it doesn’t subscribe to my “fresh” philosophy–save for the fact they are “made fresh” in-house daily, I do love the occasional Potbelly Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, a caloric nightmare but a deeply-rewarding blend of gooey goodness. The incorporation of oatmeal almost makes you feel you’re doing your body some fiberous good.


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