I almost tossed the sugar cookies I baked for New Year’s Eve into the garbage. The recipe was from Mark Bittman, the NY Times food writer and cookbook author. The round-faced Bittman is usually a reliable source for most cooking and baking challenges—from how to prepare kale to putting together a no-fail buttery pound cake. But this time, it looked like the trusty Mark had failed me.
A few minutes out of the oven, this particular batch of sugar cookies could have passed for water crackers they were so bland and tasteless. Since I was baking treats for a New Year’s Eve party at Chef Renee Marton’s, I set to work to try to rehabilitate them. (It wasn’t Bittman’s’ fault it was mine; I over-mixed the batter.) For sure, when you bring a dish to a chef’s house, you want to get it right.
I thought to myself, OK, add some sugar and fat. So I rolled each cookie in powdered sugar. I whipped up some chocolate ganache and smeared it between two cookies to create a richly fudgy sandwich. That was the only filling I made. Everything else—the nutella, the dulce de leche, I pulled from my fridge. Then I glommed a tablespoon or so of sauce onto each cookie, smoothed it with a spatula, and smushed two cookies together to create a sandwich.
The result? The powdered sugar boosted the drab little ovoid’s richness and heightened the sweetness just a tad. The filling seeped into the cookies transforming them into sumptuous little morsels. By the time midnight rolled around, my near-disaster cookies were fit to be eaten—even by a chef.
What was the best part of this cookie-making enterprise? When Chef Renee drifted by a little after midnight and announced, “Everyone’s raving about your cookies.”
Click here for Bittman’s sugar cookie recipe or use your own.