This is a tough one. And by tough, I do not mean difficult, though I will note that I have never made these cookies myself—my wife, Hannah Clark, is an excellent baker, and accomplished maker of all kinds of sweet things that I don’t have the skills or attention span to pull off. It’s tough in the sense that, for a very long time this wasn’t a recipe for handing out or, even more unthinkable, publishing. It was our secret house cookie—before it, we had been leaning heavily on the Korova cookie (from Pierre Hermé via Dorie Greenspan, which would later become perhaps better known as the World Peace Cookie), which is one of civilization’s great cookies—and this recipe became the one we’d only share if you got close enough.
But the truth, evident in their appellation, is that they were someone else’s cookie before they were ours. That person is Jeanne Roth, our friend Genevieve’s mom. We ate them at her house in Anchorage on a summer day in 2007. My wife remembers falling for the cookies the moment she saw them on the cooling rack, and Jeanne was kind enough to share the recipe. I often have trouble finding clean socks, my checkbook, or my keys, but I know where that scrap of paper is at all times.
They are, without question or hesitation, my ideal cookie. The oatmeal and coconut disappear; there is a melding, a unification, an alchemy where many ingredients become one greater thing. The nuts stay whole enough to add some textural intrigue, the chocolate—which we now hack into helter-skelter chunks instead of relying on the machine drip of chocolate chips—is sometimes a sliver or a splinter of joy, sometimes a pooled cocoa-colored lagoon of pleasure. I quite often eat one or more at each meal of the day—they are ideal companions to the first coffee of the day, a buffer between the quiet of dawn and the demands of the day to come. I eat so many, I feel like the moon man waxing toward maximum weight when they are in the house, and the only consolation from the sadness that accompanies their absence is that at least I am not eating cookies all day long. Until she makes them again.
Reprinted with permission from Lucky Peach #13: The Holiday Issue, 2014. —Peter Meehan
Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until pale yellow, homogeneous, and smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix for another 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients in order, mixing them in on low speed, just until each is incorporated into the dough.
Use two soupspoons or an ice cream scoop to form the dough into lumps about the size of a squash ball. (You can make smaller cookies if you like, or want to feed 'em to kids.) Scoop all the dough and chill it on a quarter sheet pan in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before baking. If you're not baking the whole batch, freeze the balls on the sheet tray before transferring them into a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, space them well on a Silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 11 to 12 minutes. Let them cool a bit on the sheets, then transfer them to wire racks to fully cool before serving.
These cookies are best when they have fully cooled, though you will undoubtedly eat some warm because it will take you years to develop the patience to ignore their siren's call until they are ready. You are only human.