It's tough being so thoughtful and considerate all the time, especially around the holidays. Somewhere near the middle of your exhaustive gift-giving list, dreams of personalized sushi socks give way to bulk-purchased Target gift cards (this one's got a dog, because your boss likes dogs, right?). This season, channel your inner culinary Kris Kringle with a batch of A.O.C. pastry chef Christina Olufson's salted cashew cookies. Meant to be served with her butterscotch pot de crème, these chewy, buttery sweets are also great on their own, or gingerly snuck into Christmas stockings alongside tiny bottles of small-batch bourbon.
Salted Cashew Cookies
1/2 pound (1⅔ cups) cashews
8 ounces (2 cups) all- purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
11/2 cups (1/2 pound) dark- brown sugar
1 extra- large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Spread the cashews on a baking sheet, and toast for 8 to 10 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and smell nutty. When the nuts have cooled, chop them coarsely.
3. Sift the flour and baking soda together. Add ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium- high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until fluffy again. Add the dry ingredients slowly, and mix at low speed. Stir in the fleur de sel and the cashews.
5. Scoop 1- tablespoon balls of dough, and place them 1 inch apart on a parchment- lined baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are crispy on the edges but still a little soft in the center.
Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.