Weeknight Cooking

The Cure for the Common Sweet Tooth

April 20, 2015

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals to rescue anyone who might be anxiously eyeing a box of minute rice.

Today: A surprisingly savory cookie that will win over even the biggest sweets lover.

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My sweet tooth is stubborn, persistent, and loud, not unlike its owner. I have lived with it—the needy squawker of a thing—my entire life, and have adjusted to its fervent demands for midday Swedish Fish and late-night ice cream runs. I have learned to tell it no, which is difficult and agonizing but means I can have a cordial relationship with my dentist. Like any addict, I have good days and bad. I understand my triggers. Bakeries make my heart race. Pick-and-mix candy stores are gardens of earthly delights. I have to concentrate on breathing. 

I know what I want from a sweet thing fairly acutely, as soon as the craving starts to hit. In my mind I can isolate the texture of the thing that I’m after, as well as its temperature and flavor, and I am not afraid of being very specific. Sometimes Phish Food will do it for me when nothing else will. Or those Haribo gummies shaped like berries, with all the little sprinkles stuck all over. I don’t like to settle for alternatives but I will if I must. Decisions about dessert are made quickly and firmly, which is the only time in the entire scope of my existence that I make choices in this fashion. Through sweets I find both my weakness and my strength.

More: 10 desserts with 5 ingredients or fewer, for when you're in desperate need.

Some opinions: Granola is not a sweet. Cereal of any kind is not a sweet. Trail mix is not a sweet, even if it has M&Ms in it. Breakfast pastries are not sweets, unless they are doughnuts or chocolate croissants. The best doughnut is a maple old-fashioned. Hot chocolate is a drink, not a dessert—don’t be crazy. 

It is from this frame of mind, and this lifetime of being more or less ruled by a sugary god, that I bring you the most savory sweet that I have ever loved. I don’t know what it is about these cookies. They are initially very startling, and you will think upon first bite that perhaps they would be a good salad accoutrement, or something for a breadbasket. But the subtle sweetness and nuttiness comes out with time, and you’ll find yourself coming back to them again and again—or at least I did, surprising myself most of all. Thin, somehow crisp and chewy at the same time, and jammed full of bulk bin aisle staples, these cookies stole my attention away from the discount Easter candy aisle and held it fast, which is saying something. Certainly the chocolate didn’t hurt, either. 

Chocolate-Dipped Seed Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (heaping! big scoops) sesame seeds
2 tablespoons flax seeds (ditto re: scoops)
2 tablespoons pepitas (you get the scoops memo)
1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds
1 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate, which I wouldn’t usually, but these dudes are savory—in a great way—so I wanted the sweetest chocolate option. Pick your personal chip-shaped poison.)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

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