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Swapping cookie recipes, gearing up for Cookie Takedown at Shangri-La

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

Remember that Statesman Cookie Swap we hosted in 2009? Readers submitted dozens of cookie recipes for the contest, whose finalists included the Very Best Gingersnaps You Will Ever Make and Brown Butter and Pecan Shortbread, and then we held a party at Stubb’s to celebrate. (You can click here to find all the finalists’ recipes, including the winner, Dulce de Leche Bars with Sea Salt.)

Well, you might have already been to a cookie swap or two — which, with respect, probably weren’t as epic as this annual swap in Elgin that boasts thousands of cookies — but just in case you’ve been looking for a new cookie recipe or two to add to your collection, below, you’ll find two recipes from new chefs at the W Austin and the Driskill.

And if you are looking for a totally different kind of cookie event, consider checking out the Austin Cookie Takedown, a cookie contest taking place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Shangri-La, 1016 E. Sixth St. (Remember the Bacon Takedown? This is the first non-South by Southwest contest from Takedown founder Matt Timms.) Contestants can sign up by emailing chilitakedown@gmail.com, and attendees can buy tickets ($15) at thetakedowns.com.

Sugar Molasses Cookies

The holidays are a very special time for me. I used to cook and bake with my grandmother Vera as a young child. Having a lot of family living nearby, she would always have big holiday parties at her house. I would turn on her 10-inch television to watch morning cartoons and would help her out by getting her bowls, cups and plates and sitting on the counter so I could open drawers for spoons and help mix, stir and bake whatever she was making. We would cook all day and enjoy every moment of it. These are the memories that I hold near to my heart, as this is where my love for food began because she put so much love into everything she did. This cookie is a favorite of mine, and it goes well with hot chocolate, coffee, tea or by itself. Mini chocolate chips or butterscotch chips can be added for an extra touch.

— Angel Begaye, pastry chef at the W Austin and Trace

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating

1 egg

1/4 cup molasses

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the oil and 1 cup sugar. Add egg and mix well. Mix in molasses. Add dry ingredients until well combined.

Scoop cookies into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place 1/3 cup sugar on a small plate. Roll dough balls in sugar to coat entire cookie. Place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-14 minutes. (The top will look cracked.) Allow to cool and enjoy. Makes 24 cookies.

Texas Bourbon Pecan Cookies

Troy Knapp, the new executive chef at the Driskill Hotel and 1886 Cafe & Bakery, shared his recipe for Texas bourbon pecan cookies, which he makes with bourbon from either Garrison Brothers’ or Rebecca Creek Whiskey. Chef Knapp recommends using organic sugar, flour and butter and cage-free eggs for optimum flavor.

3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup Texas bourbon

3 cups flour

2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 lb. (about 3 cups) Texas pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add egg yolks slowly, followed by vanilla and bourbon. Add flour and salt; when almost combined, add pecans. Continue mixing until all ingredients are incorporated.

Scoop with a small sorbet scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press each ball down slightly, and then bake until golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. Makes 6 dozen cookies

— Troy Knapp, executive chef at the Driskill Hotel and 1886 Cafe & Bakery