Valentine’s Day grapefruit sugar cookies

There has been snow on my patio for nearly two weeks at this point – and not small amounts either. I have discovered that snow comes in different textures and road salt in different colors. I’ve watched the owners of the car across the street unsuccessfully attempt to unearth it from nearly five feet of plowed and piled snow. 

The southerner in me is equal parts delighted and baffled by all of this. (For context, it was nearly 70°F in my hometown last week.)

I don’t know why all the snow is making me think of citrus – maybe it’s that I keep thinking of all those hot, punchy colors against the white snow. Either way, when a friend asked for a box of Valentine’s cookies, grapefruit was the first thing that came to mind. 


Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I am not a big chocolate cake person – but I love to make chocolate cake. Seems odd on the surface, but it boils down to one simple truth: I don’t like doing dishes. And most chocolate cakes are one- or two-bowl recipes that are essentially dump and stir – no stand mixer required.

So it stands to reason that I love this cookie – three bowls (you could probably manage it in two), no appliances, and a truly spectacular result. And, unlike chocolate cake, I actually want to eat these.


Raspberry Pistachio Thumbprints

My apologies if this post seems a little rushed – I need to pack up a few boxes, go vote, and hit the post office before it closes at five. It is currently 3:30. Could I have prevented this little conundrum with better planning? Absolutely. But this is not Eighth Street Everything Goes According To Plan, so…

But you’re here for the cookies.

In a glorious, grown-up ode to peanut butter and jelly, these thumbprints hit just the right balance between rich, nutty pistachios and sweet, slightly sharp raspberries. There’s a hint of ground cardamom and honey to bump up the complexity, and just enough rubbly pistachio chunks to keep things interesting.


Pecan pie cookies

I’m not through with cookies this week, but I can already say, with confidence, that if you bake nothing else this week, you must bake these. I’ve earmarked all the cookies from this grand experiment as holiday gifts, and I’ve already had to hide the containers of pecan pie cookies to keep my family out of them.

Heck, my mom said if Dad hadn’t gotten to her first, she would marry these cookies.


Lemon spritz cookies

Well, this was certainly starting off cookie week more with a whimper than a bang. I’m not going to say these were bad cookies – after all, even bad cookies are pretty good – but I have to admit that the standout elements, for me at least, had a lot more to do with making than eating. Generally, that’s not a selling point.

I’ll admit that these cookies made the list because a dear friend’s grandmother gifted me her vintage cookie press, and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use it ever since. Now that I’ve tried it, I would guess more modern cookie presses have certain advantages – even pressure, controlled dosing, and less metal-on-metal screeching – but I have no plans to trade in.

For me, this press is a connection to a history of hosting and hospitality, and the honor of having been included in it outweighs any of the small inconveniences. I love that every time I pull it out, I think of Grandma May and all the good memories I have made (and will, in better years, continue to make) with her. Which is good, because given my tray full of slightly lopsided spritz cookies, I’m going to need a lot more practice.


Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


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