Brown Sugar Cookies

20 Jun

Hello, it’s been a while.

There’s no real reason.  I could say studying for finals, and I could say settling in back home for summer break, but that’s not really true.  It’s just been one of those things…

But maybe a little goal for the summer will be keeping up with this, just to be writing something.  In the past year, I’ve very much forgotten that I once wanted to be a writer.  (I say once like it was years ago, like I’m very old and have accrued much wisdom.  I just got done being a freshman, so that’s not true either.)  And I’ve been thinking about it, writing I mean, a lot lately because of Peter Hessler.

I read Hessler’s Country Driving, which is about the various road trips he took across China while he was living there.  It was on a list I have of books about China.  None of his other books is on the list, but I couldn’t find any other books that are in Barnes and Noble when I was looking for something to read on the drive from Chicago to New York.  So I got River Towns, by Hessler.  And it made me start thinking about how I was a Very Promising Writer in high school, and people used to joke that they wanted me to sign something so they would have it when I was very famous.

And then I found political science and fell deeply in love with foreign policy (savor that sentence–I’ll bet you anything you’ll never see anything like it again).  But now I’m thinking about writing again.  I don’t think I like writing fiction, so maybe this blog will be something more than I had planned…

We shall see.

In the meantime:

Recipe post!

Brown Sugar Cookies, from Joy the Baker


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

Let’s do this:

Sift your dry ingredients, minus the brown sugar.  Or don’t.  I don’t usually sift anything unless a recipe says SIFT OR ELSE OH MY GOD, which they usually don’t.  Sifting isn’t entirely necessary here.

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, for about 3-5 minutes.  Do not eat this.  Do not eat all of it, anyway.  I find I’ve developed this problem with sugar and butter where I eat it.  It’s disgusting, I know, but I can’t seem to stop myself.  I was lactose intolerant for a long time, too, so you would think I would have some residual fear of butter.  Nope.

Beat in the egg until well-combined.

Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat until just combined.

Mix by hand until all the flour disappears.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  DON’T WORRY.  These are not really refrigerator cookies.  The dough just needs to chill for a bit.

I actually don’t know if you were worried.  I was, when I saw that part of the recipe, simply because I always mess up any cookie with dough that needs refrigeration.  I don’t know.  Winter, summer, doesn’t matter, I fuck it up.

My dough always gets gummy and loses shape, or doesn’t roll into a proper log in the first place…  And now I am not brave enough to tackle such recipes.  But fear not, for this is not one of them.

Once you’ve refrigerated those, you can go ahead and form them into balls about an inch in diameter, or a teeny bit smaller.  Then, roll them in sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

These cookies are particularly well-suited for making ice cream sandwiches, by the way.

Because of the spices involved, they taste great with mocha/coffee ice cream.  That is possibly because I like spicy coffee, but who doesn’t, really.

Don’t say you don’t.  Please.

But I suspect these would taste great with a nice simple vanilla as well.  Maybe mint, but that might be stretching it.

For best effect, consume often.  At least after every meal, and yes, that includes breakfast.  Come on, you may think that sounds indulgent, but think about it.

It’s June, quickly melting into July, which will slowly bake into a hearty August…  The mornings are still cool enough that you can and should burrow into a sweater as you stand at the counter watching through a film of sleepy tears as your coffee/double-shot espresso brews.  You know it will get hot later though, and you can’t wait to shed your fleecy layers and sit in the sun and feel your skin roast slowly…

Unless you don’t like tanning, in which case, shade is very nice too.

But you know, you just know, that it will get hot later, hot like the coffee you’re probably finally holding very close to your face as though you can absorb what you’re not immediately drinking through osmosis.  And what goes great with coffee?  Ice cream, that’s what.  And since it’s time for breakfast, you need a nice anchoring substance, too, which is where these cookies come in.

Have I convinced you?

I hope so.  You’ll thank me, even if you silently curse me as you gain twenty pounds from eating the entire batch by yourself.  Shhh, it’s okay.  Just eat.  The cookie.  (Remember that movie?  Quality stuff.)

These cookies are also best enjoyed by booting up Spotify and listening to The Fox and the Monk, by John Smith, who is an A+ singer that I had the great fortune of seeing this past Friday with Joe Henry and Lisa Hannigan.  You’ll thank me for that, too.


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