I had occasion to send a thank you to those who had taken care of and reached out to me when I was sick a few weeks back and I thought there would be no better way to do it than with a gift bag full of freshly baked cookies. I thought I would make a couple different kinds of cookies, assemble them in a bag, and send them off with a thank you card. It ended up working out really well.
The first are very lovely Lemon Scented Olive Oil Cookies with Almond Glaze. When I saw these on Joy the Baker, I completely fell in love and knew I had to have them. I mean, lemon? Olive oil? Almond? Together? I couldn't imagine a better flavor combination if I tried.
They turned out just as wonderful as I thought. They were light and not too sweet with great depth of flavor. They're perfect with a cup of tea on a lazy afternoon. Find the recipe I followed here, at Joy the Baker.
The next cookie came about when I tried to think of a good contrast to the light lemony cookies I'd made before. Something rich, something chocolaty, something classic. I thought chocolate chip cookies would be too simple, but the more I looked for other recipes, the more I kept being drawn back to that treasured family favorite but with the volume turned up (Barefoot Contessa anyone?). Chewy Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies by Alton Brown, via the illustrious Joy the Baker yet again, seemed perfect for the occasion. They're a gussied up classic, complete with a healthy dose of molasses (you make your own brown sugar by mixing refined sugar with molasses), dark chocolate chips, and a light sprinkling of sea salt, just before baking. Seeing how many of the recipients of my gift bags were going to be children, I thought these would be sure to please.
And they were! They turned out chewy and delicious. It was tough for me to know when they're done because they're supposed to have a gooey-molassesey center, but once I got it down they were a huge hit (hint: they're supposed to be thin and flat!). Here's the recipe (followed it exactly except for all-purpose flour in place of bread flour).
And as a final addition to my gift bags, I thought I'd go with something a little different. Not quite a cookie but just as bite sized. I thought of these wonderful Cherry-Pecan Meringues I had made from Everyday Food a few years ago and they turned out to be the prefect finishing touch to the gift bags. I followed this recipe but replaced the chopped dried cherries with chopped dried cranberries. I think my mom ate like 10 of them after they came out of the oven.
The last step was to assemble the gift bags. Any good craft store will have nice cellophane bags that are ideal for cookies. With little labels and ribbon, you'd think these gift bags were professionally made! Okay, maybe they're not quite that good, but they're pretty gosh-darn cute and I'm happy to say that everyone loved them.