From One, Nine
The most important part of making any of the following recipes is resting the dough. I've found two hours to be the minimum amount of time necessary to achieving the right textured cookies, but overnight really makes a difference.
White Chocolate and Cranberry
This first iteration succeeds because sweet, creamy white chocolate balances the tart cranberries. They're a little cookie homage to fall.
To make these tea-time ready cookies, omit the white chocolate and cranberries from the original recipe. Stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice to the flour mixture. In the final step, stir in 1 1/2 cups dried currants that have been soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes, drained, and dried.
For a tropical twist, replace the cranberry and white chocolate with 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts and 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes. If possible, substitute the 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar.
Dried strawberries are really underused in baking, but no more. Omit the cranberries and white chocolate and add 1 cup of dried strawberries for a summery, fruit-forward taste. 1 cup of roughly chopped almonds adds a nice crunch.
Dark Chocolate Plum
Another underused fruit in baking? Dried plums. They have a deep, concentrated flavor that pairs perfectly with dark chocolate. These oatmeal cookies are elegant and grownup, ready for a dinner party. Substitute 1 cup chopped dried plums and 1 cup chopped dark chocolate for the cranberries and white chocolate.
Peanut Butter Chip and Jelly
In this take on PB&J, the white chocolate and cranberries are replaced with 1 1/2- 2 cups (depending on how much you like PB) peanut butter chips. The dough can stay in the fridge for just 1 1/2 hours so that the cookies will spread more when baking. Sandwich two cookies over your favorite jam.
Substitute the chocolate and cranberries for 1 cup coarsely chopped apricots (I like to leave them large for extra chew) and 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts. These are chunky, hearty cookies that go well with a cup of hot apple cider.
Classic cookie lovers should make this version, where the white chocolate and cranberries are replaced with 1 1/2-cups raisins. Stir 1 teaspoon cinnamon into the flour mixture. The result is a warm, comforting cookie.
Milk Chocolate Hazelnut
Anyone who's tried Nutella knows that Gianduja, i.e chocolate with hazelnuts, is a wonderful combination. Though I prefer to eat dark chocolate plain, milk chocolate works well here to add a sweetness and a hint of cream that offsets the crunchy, slightly bitter hazelnuts. Use 1 cup of each in place of the white chocolate and cranberries.