When you call Dorie Greenspan to say you’re coming over, this is what she bakes. “It takes longer to preheat the oven than to put these cookies together,” she wrote to me. “I love them for a million reasons, but chiefly because they're a simple pleasure that can be shared on the spur of the moment.” She includes a perfectly round variation in her book using muffin tins (and plenty of baker's spray to help them break free), but we preferred the ease and charm of the freeform version. Adapted slightly from Dorie's Cookies (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016). —Genius Recipes
(75 grams) sugar
1 1/4 cups
(125 grams) sliced almonds (blanched or unblanched)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Have a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon at hand.
Whisk the sugar and egg together in a bowl for a minute or so, until well blended and just a bit thick. Add the almonds and whisk until evenly coated with the mixture. You need to use the batter right away — it separates as it stands. In fact, it’s good to give the batter a stir or two as you’re spooning it out.
Each cookie needs 2 teaspoons of batter. Scoop the batter onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches of space between the mounds of batter, and flatten each mound with the back of a fork.
Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans midway through baking. The cookies should be toasted-almond beige, and dry and crackled on top. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes. Carefully lift the free-form cookies with a wide spatula.
Note: If your kitchen is cool and dry, you can keep these in a tin or paper bag overnight. Keep them longer, and they might soften, a condition easily reversed: Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet and warm them in a 350° F oven for about 6 minutes; cool on the sheet.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.