Salt&Spice Best-Cookies-Ever, for Kennedy and Heather

This recipe was an experiment that did not yield the result I was hoping for. That day, I had a business appointment with my friend/new client Heather, at her home and I knew her little girl would be there.

To thank them for their time and hospitality, I couldn’t resist taking them a little gift of these cookies. At first they were simply grateful.

Then their taste buds went a little crazy, and young Kennedy swore that was the best cookie she’d had – ever! – in her whole life!! 11 seconds later, Heather agreed.

I had to laugh. It was the second time lately that someone said this about one of my recipes. Of course I had to promise that I would keep this recipe as it is after all, and name it for them.

Just for fun, I took a few to another friend at the Original Farmers Market the next day, and his reaction was just as flattering. I just ate one, and the flavors still keep exploding in my mouth!

If I had to guess – other than the love that was added, of course – the secret to success is the browned butter combined with the finest dark brown sugar you can ransom, and the smoked salt in the topping. The products in the foto are available online I’m sure, and inside Mr. Marcel at the Original Farmers Market.

And, with your own inspired touch, any dark brown sugar and regular sea salt will rock too. My sincere hope is that your version will render its own brand of rave reviews.

Make Salt&Spice Sugar:

1 tsp smoked sea salt flakes

1 tsp ground chili powder or cayenne pepper 

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 tsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Set aside. 

Prepare cookie dough:

1 ½ cups unbleached flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground chili powder or cayenne pepper 

1 ½ tsp Maldon smoked salt flakes

1 ½ cubes unsalted butter, divided

1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Salt&Spice sugar mix (recipe follows)


Combine first six (dry) ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F, place oven racks on two center levels in oven; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In saucepan over medium heat, cook ½ cup (1 cube) butter, swirling often and scraping bottom of pan with heatproof rubber spatula (ideally a mini one 😉 until butter foams then browns, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer butter to a large heatproof mixing bowl; let cool for 1 minute. 

Cut remaining ½ cube butter into small pieces and add to brown butter in bowl, starting with one small piece. If piece foams and sizzles, let brown butter cool a little longer; added butter pieces ought to just melt (not foam and sizzle) when stirred in gently.

Once butter is melted, add sugars and whisk, breaking up any clumps of packed sugar; combine until smooth. Add egg and egg yolks, whisking until all ingredients are smoothly incorporated. Whisk in vanilla. Gradually stir reserved dry ingredients in to mixture, combining well so that no traces of dry ingredients remain.

Using a 1 1/2-oz scoop (about 3 Tbs.), portion out 16 balls of dough, and dip the top of dough portion into Salt&Spice Sugar. 

Divide pieces between prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated (375F) oven for 8-9 minutes. Cookies ought to be lightly browned on top and just firm around edges. If more baking time is needed, add 1-minute increments and check after each minute.

The desired result is a crunchy-edged cookie with a chewy center. This is how Kennedy and Heather love them

Let cookies cool on baking sheets before gently removing to serve; warm cookies may tend to stick a little, so be careful. Store cookies in airtight container if there are any to store!

Yields 16 cookies.

Note: if you wish to make smaller cookies, scoop about 1 ½ Tbsp for each cookie, and dip tops in Salt&Spice Sugar before baking. Bake for only about 6-7 minutes; add one-minute increments if necessary. This will yield almost 3 dozen cookies.

Diana Scalia

Diana Scalia

Your Chef and Tour Maestra

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