1. Toffee Chunk Cookies
2. Vanilla Bean Sables
I'm a sucker for plain old vanilla, and these cookies get a double hit. There are the damp, floral seeds from fresh vanilla beans and some creamy, smooth Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla extract. Seriously, don't be fooled by how simple these sound, they're little bites of ice cream parlor-scented heaven.
3. Black Pepper Hazelnut Biscotti
Because I based these biscotti off of cookies that I love, I knew that I'd like the unusual flavor combination of hazelnuts and black pepper. But freshly grinding the black pepper for the cookies was a revelation: it took on floral, citrusy notes that elevated the biscotti to another plane. Their slightly spicy, earthy, and nutty flavor is addictive.
4. Espresso Buzz Cookies
Nostalgia alert. These were the very first cookies I baked for Cookie Monster, and they're still some of my favorite. As I said then, I was looking to amp up the mocha flavor to the max, which I did via melted dark chocolate and instant espresso. And of course a little frosting never hurts.
5. Salted Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
My salty-sweet tooth strikes again, but this time in combination with another personal obsession: oatmeal cookies. But what makes these some of my favorites? They're hearty and big on flavor, which can be hard to find.
I would say that I'm genetically destined to love these cookies, but so many cultures have their own variation that the Greeks aren't very unique. Crumbly, almondy, and covered in powdered sugar, these cookies are delightfully messy and fun to eat.
7. Midnight Cookies
Full disclosure: I always have a bag of these in my freezer. While these deep, dark, chocolate-walnut cookies are excellent when fresh, I love their intense flavor and fudgy texture after they've spent time in the ice box. They really are the perfect late night snack.
8. Grammy Howard's Molasses Cookies
You know that saying about how the thing that you're looking for turns out to be right under your nose? Well, that's how it was for me and well-spiced, perfectly textured molasses cookies. The recipe was right under my own nose, in my grandmother's old recipe files. These cookies are just what I want, particularly in the fall: notes of dark brown sugar and molasses, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
9. Salted Caramel Shortbread Cups
And you thought I couldn't possibly squeeze any more shortbread and/or salted caramel into my top ten, eh? Well I just had to make room for these adorable, caramel-filled cookies. Yes, they're kind of like tiny tarts, but that makes them even more awesome.
10. White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
These are my low-brow, guilty pleasure cookies. The ones I take out of the oven when they're a little underdone. The ones I relish for their sweetness, fattiness, and super soft texture.