Sourdough Cookies

Putting sourdough starter in cookies bumps up against some problems, but you can solve them. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Sourdough cookies, like last week’s sourdough cracker recipe, have two goals: capture some sour flavor and use your starter. Sourdough’s leavening power doesn’t take charge: you’re still relying on baking soda, baking powder, or both to create the cookies’ shape. That puts them in the same category as Sourdough Pancakes, Sourdough Waffles, and quick breads.

But unlike those baked goods, putting sourdough starter in cookies bumps up against some problems. Most cookies have a low hydration level—they have little or no added liquid. The “wet” ingredients they do have usually contain fats, proteins, and other elements that balance the cookie recipe. This week, I focus on things I’ve learned about baking cookies with sourdough and the best recipes to use with your starter.
Learn to make sourdough cookies

Biscotti

Biscotti pair well with tea, coffee, or even an evening alcoholic sipper. Get biscotti recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
At some point in my childhood, my mom started making biscotti at Christmas. As a kid, it was low on my priority list—there were so many other, sweeter cookies in the house. But even though my mom was the household’s master baker, my dad, sister, and I ate most of her creations before she had a chance to enjoy them with a cup of tea and a good book. She probably made biscotti because we tended to leave it for her.

Now that I’m older, I’ve come to appreciate these twice-baked cookies. They pair well with tea, coffee, or even an evening alcoholic sipper. When I traveled in Italy, I ate them with straight espresso and once with a dry Italian dessert wine I assumed was a type of sherry but later discovered was called vin santo (holy wine). The Italians are biscotti masters, traditionally flavoring them with almonds. But the technique works with many flavors, from nuts and dried fruit to my mom’s favorite gingerbread biscotti. And because they’re so dry, they can be stored a long time, making them ideal for sending to others.
Learn to make my Biscotti Master Recipe and several flavors

Oatmeal Cookies

I think oatmeal cookie should pack as much flavor as possible into each bite. Get cookie recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Have you ever eaten an oatmeal cookie that tastes like overly sweet yet bland hot cereal? I have. So when I set out to create oatmeal cookie recipes, I wanted to pack as much flavor as possible into each bite. If the ingredient lists for this week’s recipes seem long, it’s intentional: Good cookies contain layers of flavors and textures.

I started by thinking about how to bring out the best flavor from the rolled oats. As I’ve shared elsewhere, I’ve never been a fan of plain oatmeal and instead mix several grains into my hot cereal and granola blends. But cookies bake so quickly that some grains don’t have time to soften. So I stuck with rolled oats (never instant) and used browned butter to boost the nutty flavor of the cookies—all without actually adding nuts.

Several blends build on this base layer of flavor and texture. Blending white and whole-wheat flours balances the oat flakes. Using baking soda and baking powder gives cookies Goldilocks cred—not too flat, not too tall. Blending spices or using smoky salt deepens their flavor. Finally, combining sweeteners enhances flavor and hits the happy medium between too chewy and too crispy.

If you have a cookie craving and limited supplies, you can replace these blends with all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon and regular salt, and white sugar. If you’re in a rush, just cream room-temperature butter instead of browning it. Try simplifying each recipe sometime as an experiment: You’ll still make cookies, but they’ll taste a little one-dimensional.
Learn to make Smoky Oatmeal–Cranberry Cookies and Oatmeal–Pumpkin Cookies

Sending Cookies, With Love

This year, I think it’s more important than ever that we send food, with love. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
There’s no point in sugarcoating it: The winter holidays will look different for almost all of us this year. For most of us, holiday parties, cookie and gift exchanges, and family gatherings will be smaller, virtual, or nonexistent. But there are still plenty of ways to share the holiday cheer—particularly with food.

Despite concerns early in the COVID-19 pandemic about food and packaging contact that had us wiping down milk jugs with bleach and putting store-bought goods in short-term quarantine, we now know that food and its packaging are among the least of our virus-spread concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been identified where infection was thought to have occurred by touching food, food packaging, or shopping bags.” We also know that food, particularly homemade food, can provide comfort, remembrance, joy, and more. So this year, I think it’s more important than ever that we send food, with love.

Since I’ve been on a pickling rampage most of the year, much to my cookie-loving sister’s disappointment, it’s time to bring some sweets to the Twice as Tasty table. Here are some foods I’ll be shipping to family and friends this holiday season.
Read more about sending holiday treats