When Danny and I tried to decide all the cookies we would bake for the cookie-baking extravaganza here, we pulled down all our baking books and cookbooks with baked goods. We ran our fingers down the index of each one, looking for baked goods that appealed to us both. Quickly, we realized we had a problem.
There were too many cookies to make. Gingersnaps, butterscotch cookies, Florentines with ginger, Spingerle cookies, rum balls, sand tarts, lemon bars, brown sugar shortbread, Swedish nut balls, buckwheat cookies, almond-lemon macaroons — they all sounded appealing.
And those were just some of the choices from The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century alone.
I’ve written about how much we love this cookbook already, so I won’t repeat myself. But between this book and the Gourmet cookbook, we were tempted to not crack open any other books. Then again, that would have left out Dorie and Melissa, readers’ grandmothers’ recipes, and the work of many talented people we know.
So we had to limit ourselves to one choice out of this cookbook.
How did we choose? We had a jar of already toasted pine nuts on the counter, left over from a cooking project from the night before. I saw this recipe, seized the moment, and started baking.
What is truly wonderful about these delicate, subtly sweet cookies is how easy they are to make. Look at that list of ingredients — 8 in total, with 2 of them xanthan and guar gum. If you have the flour mix already made up, and your ingredients laid out in a miss en place, you can put together these cookies in four minutes flat. Truly.
They have a shatter-thin layer of crunch on the outside, with a soft crumb inside. The pine nuts make such a lovely taste — yes, they are nutty, but more there’s a subtle sweetness and a bit of salt. Again, with so few ingredients here, you want to make sure you have the best of each one you can afford. (We’re kind of crazy about organic cultured butter right now.) The dough lasts in the refrigerator, so you can make one batch and make another the next day.
Or, invite over your friends and go crazy making cookies together.
Just don’t burn the pine nuts when you toast them! That would taste nasty.
After we made these, we left the rest of the cookies in this cookbook alone. After all, there’s always next year.
Who am I fooling? We’re making these pine nut cookies next year too.
GLUTEN-FREE PINE NUT COOKIES, adapted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century
4 ounces (1 US stick) unsalted butter, softened
140 grams all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 cup baking sugar (that’s the one that’s ground fine)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a a baking sheet with greased parchment paper or a Silpat. Mix the flour with the xanthan gum and guar gum. Whisk them all together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vailla extract. Mix for 1 minute. With the stand mixer running, add the flour mixture slowly until it is fully incorporated into the dough. Mix in the pine nuts with a rubber spatula.
Drop a teaspoon of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat, leaving 2 inches between the between each cookie. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake until the cookies are pale golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake the cookies, as they will turn crumbly and dry. Pull the cookies the moment they begin to turn golden.
Remove the hot cookies from the baking sheet with a metal spatula and lay them on a cooling rack. Let them cool before eating.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Would you like to win a copy of our cookbook? We have a feeling you’ll find a huge list of foods you’ll want to make in that one too. Simply leave a comment about how you choose which treats to make this time of year.