Perfect Food Day: Cookie Savant Dorie Greenspan

October 28, 2016

This is the book Dorie Greenspan, a longtime cookbook author, has always wanted to write.

Cookies are the focus of Dorie Greenspan’s newest book, Dorie’s Cookies, and it just makes sense. The veteran cookbook author ran a beloved Lower East Side “cookie boutique” called Beurre & Sel, and her World Peace Cookies (salted chocolate, shortbread—check out the book’s cover below!) have long been big on the Internet (see here, here, and here). This is the book Greenspan has always wanted to write, and that’s saying something when you consider that her first cookbook was published 25 years ago. “I came from a family of cookie lovers and created a family of cookie lovers,” explains Greenspan. “Cookies are important in our lives.”

As true as that may be, even Greenspan needs more than cookies to survive. Here, she shares how she’d spend her perfect food day, which includes jumping between her homes in Paris and Connecticut, with her family by her side. And, of course, cookies. Lots of them.

Breakfast: I’m not a breakfast person, except when I’m on vacation, and then I eat everything on the menu from oatmeal to exotic fruit and maybe even shakshuka. When our son, Joshua, and his girlfriend, Linling, are with us, it’s pancakes, Joshua’s specialty, or French toast, which is mine. Those were Joshua’s breakfast favorites as a child and they’re always his requests when we’re together. If I could transport this breakfast to Paris, we’d have it after returning from the morning market.

Mid-Morning Snack: On a perfect food day, I’d do what I do just about every day: bake! No day is perfect unless I bake. I usually have brownies, a loaf cake, or some kind of Bundt cake in the house—something you can pick away at during the day—and I always have cookies. Did I mention that we’re a sweet-tooth family? On a perfect day, we’ve got my Classic Jammers, because they’re, well, perfect; French Vanilla Sablés, because no home should ever be short of shortbread; Melody cookies for Michael, my husband; Chunkers for Joshua; and Double-Ginger Molasses Cookies for Linling and me.

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Lunch: Lunch in this perfect world is outside. In Paris, it might be lunch at Le Comptoir, Yves Camdeborde’s place. It’s right down the street from our apartment and has outdoor seating. On the perfect day, we have perfect weather, right? In my head, I see the four of us, Joshua, Linling, Michael, and me, sitting outside at Le Comptoir. For the main course, Camdeborde does salt cod in a broth that has great vegetables and a bouillabaisse-type flavor. That’s my favorite, so I would definitely have that. He does a fabulous marrow bone, a great octopus, and it sounds so simple, but I love his steamed vegetables, a beautiful assortment of vegetables served with terrific olive oil. It’s so good.

I think going out for lunch is a luxury. It’s really a treat to take a lot of time in the middle of the day, so going out for lunch, even having lunch on the deck with friends, that’s almost its own vacation. My favorite lunch—actually, my favorite dinner, as well—involves lots of people around the table and lots of food that you can eat with your elbows on the table. Extra points if you can eat with your fingers. I like when you can hear several conversations around the table punctuated by the sound of plates being passed. I might have a big bowl of mussels, because I love messy food, but for the most part, chez me, the perfect lunch is room temperature—grain or bean salads, stuffed peppers, roasted vegetables with something spicy, maybe a frittata, lots of cheeses, including homemade pimento cheese, and loaves of my husband’s homemade bread with French butter. There’s wine, for sure, and fruit and sablé cookies to stretch the afternoon.

Dinner: Let’s pretend that on this perfect day, we hiked and biked and did hot yoga and that we’re ready for the kind of dinner that my family and I love, one that has everyone working together in the kitchen, sustained by white wine and nibbles. Linling will make guacamole; Joshua will make spiced cashews; Michael will make a flatbread that we can eat straight from the oven; and I’ll make gougères, not that anyone needs them, but because everyone loves them.

Michael and Joshua have recently perfected this technique where they cook the fish on the stovetop and then finish it in a hot oven, so they’ll show off their skills with the main course. Linling and I will make a salsa to go over the fish. If there are roasted vegetables left over from lunch, I’ll try to use them for the salsa—I love being able to find a delicious second life for odd bits—and we’ll make a salad to go with the fish. For dessert, we’ll have homemade ice cream and, yep, more of those cookies.

Lauren Salkeld is a French Culinary Institute–trained writer, editor, and recipe developer. She has worked for Epicurious and Bon Appétit magazine and on cookbooks including The Yellow Table by Anna Watson Carl, Asian American by Dale Talde, and A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield. 

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ColumnCookbooks of 2016Dorie GreenspanDorie's CookiesPerfect Food Day
Dorie's Cookies
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Over the course of her baking career, Dorie Greenspan has created more than 300 cookie recipes.… Read more »

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