Sometimes I think I am obsessed with cookies! And I definitely consider myself to be a cookie connoisseur. When it comes to bakery cookies, especially Italian cookies, I am a complete cookie snob. I grew up eating cookies from Italian bakeries in New York City and Long Island and I know a good Italian cookie when I taste one. I can tell you from just one bite of just one cookie if it’s from a good bakery or a mediocre bakery. It’s an immediate reaction. Either my eyes light up in delightful surprise or I make my “meh” face (clearly not impressed).
Over the past few days, I’ve been obsessed with Italian cookies, scouring Pinterest and the internet for recipes. And I dug out these two pictures that I took at a good Italian bakery in Philadelphia a couple of years ago. Their cookies had that special flavor and consistency that you only find in a good, authentic Italian bakery. When your teeth bite into one of those cookies, the consistency feels like a snow shovel gliding effortlessly through fluffy white snow. And the flavors transport you to an old-world Italian bakery in Brooklyn. Hmmm, I would like to be able to make cookies like that at home.
In addition to looking up recipes for Italian cookies, I’ve been a cookie-baking maniac over the past few days. First, I made ginger cookies using my grandfather’s ginger snap recipe. I tried to make them a while back, but decided I needed to do some tweaking before posting the recipe. The ginger-cinnamon-clove flavor was good. But, they were “crack your tooth” hard. Haha! After some research, I decided that I had baked them too long. This past weekend, I gave it a second try.
Last time, I rolled them and cut them with cookie cutters (pictured above). This time, I shaped the dough into 1-inch balls and coated them with sugar. I reduced the baking time and the oven temperature. I confess my original plan was to use cookie cutters again and just reduce the baking time. But, I was baking at John’s and forgot my rolling pin and cookie cutters at home. Darn it! So, I improvised! They had a nice texture this time. A little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I liked them. They definitely had an intense ginger and clove flavor. Recipe to be posted soon!
Two days later, I began my quest to recreate my all-time favorite bakery cookies. They are like a mini version of the sprinkle cookies that you find in Italian or Jewish bakeries. My first try turned out pretty good, but I didn’t exactly capture the “essence” of the bakery cookies. They tasted like regular holiday butter cookies that I’ve made before. That’s not a bad thing. It just wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I will try again and report back.
I’ll continue my cookie-baking mania this weekend. I’m not sure what I will do with all of the cookies! I couldn’t fit them all into one picture (below). I only used two thirds of the dough and ended up with about 65 cookies! Needless to say, between the ginger cookies and the butter cookies, my coworkers have been eating lots of cookies this week. Stay tuned! Cookie recipes to be posted soon. 🙂