Looking back at a year of cookies is in some ways even more awe-inspiring than looking back at a year of cake or pie. That's because I bake cookies by the dozen, meaning I've made well over two thousand cookies since 2012. Among the masses, what sticks in my mind most? Some nutty, gooey, chunky, dunkable treats.
Salted Cashew Caramel Bars
It's almost unfair to include these in the list because the combination of nutty, creamy cashews, rich, homemade caramel, and buttery shortbread was sure to win the day. What I love about this recipe (other than that they always induce happy-food cries) is that it's so versatile. Change the cashews for pecans or walnuts; cut the squares big and serve them as the main event; cut them small and serve them as part of a dessert buffet—no matter what, the three main ingredients (shortbread, caramel, and nuts) won't steer you wrong.
Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Covered Cranberries
Baking with chocolate-covered fruit? I guess it should have been a no-brainer, but for whatever reason it took me forever to give it a try. Still, better late than never when it comes to using chocolate covered cranberries to amp up big, chunky, chewy, oatmeal cookies. They're the kind of cookies that would be great at either a picnic on the beach or for some apres-ski restitution.
Olive Oil Pistachio Biscotti
As I mentioned in the original post, I love the taste of good olive oil. A hint of salt brings out the buttery, fruity flavor of the oil, which is complemented by pistachios.
Chocolate Peppermint Snowflake Cookies
These cookies are so delicious they make me wonder why people don't eat chocolate-peppermint sweets year round. But if you want to change them up for the spring, you could swap in sprinkles for the candy canes or leave the icing unadorned. Making them now? They're a great way to use up those candy canes you just took off your tree.
Caramel Apple Crumb Bars
These bars came about last October as a crowd-friendly way to serve the people what I knew they wanted: caramel and apples. Like in the cashew bars, the homemade caramel really puts this treat over the top, introducing a sweet, finger-licking element to the already great shortbread base. If you're done baking with apples for a while, try making them with pears.
A final note: I felt bad adding another non-cookie cookie to this list, but seriously, if you haven't made this brickle yet, give it a try.
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