One of my favorite recipe websites, theKitchn.com, recently posted this article about the most popular holiday cookies in every state, according to Google.
There’s a little bit of an analytics nerd left over in me from my time spent in advertising, so the title caught my attention right away. But what I really love about this list is that, no matter how scary or sad or infuriating the day to day news has become, we can all connect on this one thing: Everyone loves a cookie.
There are other things I love about this, too. Here are some of them:
I love that so many states picked some form of chocolate chip cookie as their favorite (10). Because really, you just can’t go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie.*
I love that Colorado chose gluten-free Christmas cookies. Two weeks ago I had someone call me from Colorado. She wanted sugar cookies for her daughter’s birthday, but wanted to be sure she knew the size and ingredients of the cookies. I explained that most sugar cookies are about 3 inches, and all are made with sugar, flour, butter and eggs. There was silence on the other end while she processed that information. Finally, she told me she’d have to “think about it” – she couldn’t imagine the backlash from other parents if she distributed 3-inch cookies full of sugar and all-purpose flour. I told her she could blame me – just a girl from the Midwest who will eat her weight in sweets if given the opportunity – but to no avail. I lost that job.
I love that it taught me something about cultural landscape of America. The article says it’s no surprise that the Midwest favors the spritz cookie. If you didn’t already know, spritz cookies are basically shortbread cookies that have been pushed through a cookie press to form designs that are common during the holidays. Spritz cookies originated in Scandinavian countries and Germany, and it turns out that the Midwest has some of the largest communities with people of German decent. In Monterey, Ohio for example, nearly 84% of residents claim to be of German ancestry.
And, I love that there were some cookies on this list I’ve never heard of. What’s a goat cookie? A preacher cookie? An anisette cookie? I’ve clearly got some work to do.
*My personal favorite is a classic chocolate chip cookie, the recipe is below. It’s a slightly tweaked version of the amazing recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.
Happy holidays. I hope your new year is filled with health, happiness ... and your favorite cookies.
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour (8 3/4 oz) 1/2 tsp baking soda 14 tbsp unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks) 1/4 cups granulated sugar 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1 tsp kosher salt 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, or chunks
Preheat oven to 350°F
Combine the flour and the baking soda and whisk to combine, set aside.
In a skillet melt and then brown 10 tablespoons of butter. You want a slight golden color, not dark amber color. The butter will start to smell like toffee. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk until the butter is melted.
Add 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth about 30 seconds. Add egg and egg yolk and whisk again. Let the mixture sit for 3 minutes, then whisk it again. Repeat 3 times
Add the flour all at once and mix with a spatula or whisk with mixer just until combined.
Add chocolate chips
Scoop the dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets. A heaping tablespoon of dough will yield around a 2” cookie.
Bake – about 8 minutes