When Gourmet magazine announced that they would be wrapping up their 68 years of publication, in October 2009, they issued the best Christmas cookie from every year in their history. Having been a chef, pastry chef, and baker for the bulk of my working life, and having an innate fascination with all things baked, I managed to pull a few into my Christmas spread for that year. If my memory serves me correctly, I made bizcochos, a Mexican cookie reminiscent of lard pie dough with anise and cinnamon. I also threw in warmly spiced, heavily boozed, chocolaty rum balls with dark raisins; so much complexity in such a small bite. All in all, the variety was impressive.
I've learned over time that I categorize people into two groups: those who eat what I cook, and those who don't. Food is at the root of who I am, so the latter are rarely invited back. In every situation, a cake, a few dozen cookies, or some gently sauteed apples nestled into a flaky crust is the simplest way to win people's hearts. At every opportunity; holidays, Monday afternoons, long, lazy Sunday mornings, I want to share the thing that drives me with the people I love and the people who love them.
In honor of this holiday season, and Gourmet publishing these recipes, I'll be creating and documenting 68 different cookies for the circle of people who matter most.