Hey, Mrs. Smith…

Yesterday a pack of 6th grade boys ran through my yard and kitchen like a bunch of puppies. Their laughter, whoops and yells echoed through the neighborhood and our house as they romped and frolicked inside and out with footballs, lacrosse sticks, nerf guns and video games. Sound like a crazy day? Nope, it was just a normal Saturday here. You see, Harrison often has his buddies over for playdates- and we love that he does. The boys are terrific, and it is so great to hear and see them happy.

Anyway, as one of the boys- I’ll call him “Joey”-passed through the kitchen for the nine-millionth time, he smiled an impish grin and said, with eyes sparkling: “Hey Mrs. Smith, got anything good in the freezer?” I knew exactly what he meant. He was not looking for a frozen steak or peas. No, he was looking for straight sugar- sugar in the form of cookies or brownies. And, before I could answer, he added, “Because your brownies and cookies are my favorites. Really.” Now, I know I make a mean cookie and brownie, but I also was not born yesterday. My guess is that, during an afternoon of fun, anybody’s baked anything is right up Joey’s alley. He is just smart enough to know that there is almost always a stash of something yummy in my freezer. And, even better, he is savvy enough to appeal to my ego to get it! Well, I have to admit, I love a young lobbyist with an impish grin!

So, I headed down to the freezer to see what my supply looked like. And boy, was I ever glad I did. We were shockingly low. I always have a cookie reserve for the unexpected dinner guests, or the late night nibble. And, clearly someone other than me had been nibbling because we were nearly out! Poor Joey and the gang had to suffer through with store bought Oreos and I clearly had to get busy baking.

This morning I woke up and, with the dearth of cookies heavy on my mind, decided to try a new cookie recipe. Joey wasn’t here to taste test- but my home team was. All declared that it was a winner- that is before the cookies were whisked away to a “Top Secret” location to await the next infiltration of 6th grade boys, or dinner guests, or midnight nibbles- whichever comes first!

Chewy Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes 2 Dozen large cookies

2 ¼ c flour
½ t baking soda
1 t baking powder
½ c sweetened shredded coconut, chopped fine
½ t salt
1 ½ c sugar, plus 1/3 c for rolling
2 oz cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
6 T butter, melted and still warm
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 T milk
2 t vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and coconut together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Place 1 ½ cups sugar and the cream cheese in a large bowl of a mixer. Place the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside.
4. Pour the warm butter over the sugar and cream cheese and beat to combine. Add oil until incorporated. Add, egg, milk and vanilla; continue to beat until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until soft homogenous dough forms.
5. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces- about 2 tablespoons each. Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls into reserved sugar to coat and place evenly spaced on prepared baking sheet- 12 dough balls per sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, flatten the dough balls until 2” in diameter. Sprinkle the tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar- about 2 teaspoons per tray-discarding any remaining sugar.
6. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11-13 minutes, rotating the tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.


  1. jackandki
    Posted October 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I am definitely going to try this recipe. Chewy cookies are my favourite. Though how do you go about eating yours after the freezer? Do you let them defrost or do you microwave? I can’t believe I have never thought of freezing sweets before! …perhaps because there’s never any around long enough to freeze.

    Thanks for an excellent story and post.

  2. Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    For chewy cookies, I let them defrost. They only take a few moments. Though, even frozen they still have some chew. Try it, you’ll be surprised I think. Thanks for reading!

  3. jackandki
    Posted October 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    thank you. Funnily enough I just saw a Nigella episode last night where she froze cookies!

  4. Sharine
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Made them today and they are almost all gone! Thank you for sharing!

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