Every Cookie is a Sugar Cookie

To quote Gary Gulman, "Every cookie is a sugar cookie. A cookie without sugar is a cracker." With that in mind, have you heard of Canal House Cooking? If not, allow me to explain: It's a self-published series of seasonal recipe collections from Christopher Hirsheimer, one of the founders of Saveur magazine, and Melissa Hamilton, a former food editor at Saveur. People have been talking about it. So, I ordered Volume no. 5, "The Good Life," and was completely won over, which, in light of a recent email I got from a friend, is kind of funny to me. The email read:


Was Bon Appetempt a satire of food blogs that kind of collapsed into becoming a non- or only semi-satirical food blog? I am a curious person and would be interested to know.


I wrote back: Brandon, please see Nora Ephron Potato Pancake attempt.

To be fair, it's a good question. Sometimes I am flipping potato pancakes to the easy jams of Eminem while other times I'm lamenting the loss of Gourmet magazine (It was an institution! Too beautiful to fail!) And well, this post probably falls under the latter category because Canal House Cooking is kind of like Gourmet magazine on drugsif Gourmet were the raw egg, Canal House Cooking would be a pimentón fried egg that has been cooked and basted in Spanish-paprika-laden olive oil. (That is an actual recipe in Volume No. 5 by the way.)

"The Good Life" contains: an essay by Gabrielle Hamilton, whose praises I've already sung in the Vegetarian Chili post; a super informative piece about grower champagnes, which I had no idea was even a thing and which includes an adorably helpful diagram explaining how to read the label of a champagne bottle; and, if I'm comparing this small volume to Gourmet, then you know Canal House Cooking has some of the most beautiful photographs and inspiring recipes ever seen. Well, they do. And their sugar cookies are no exception.

Canal House's versions:

our versions:
They were easily the most delicious, buttery, subtle-y sweet sugar cookies I've ever had. They almost tasted like shortbreaddid I mention they were buttery? So very buttery that I wonder if this is the reason I had so much trouble with the dough. I know that I picked difficult cookie cutter shapes, but transferring the cut shapes to the baking sheet proved tricky. The recipe has you roll the dough in between two sheets of parchment and then chill for at least four hours before pulling one sheet out at a time to cut the shapes. I chilled them overnight, but the second the dough warmed up, all of my carefully cut cookies began to want to lose their shape. On my second sheet, I hurried as fast as I could and this helped a bit, but still, this dough really needs to be cold, and intricate, whale and anchor-shaped cookie cutters (albeit cute as hell) don't really help the process. A thin, metal spatula would have come in handy too.
So, Brandon, to answer your question, Bon Appetempt is not a satire... unless it's a satire of itself. Probably more accurately, I think it's a place to compile what inspires me—sometimes that's a lava-spewing cake and sometimes it's a beautiful sugar cookie that I simply can't help but try to recreate.

In short: Happy Holidays, people! Email me if you'd like the recipe (bonappetempt@gmail.com) or purchase "The Good Life" here. (One of the rare times I can't post it myself.)
Print Friendly and PDF


Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

It isn't really the holidays until the rolled sugar cookies cone out...we made some this week too.

Heather Taylor said...

dudeeee - i am making these. can't wait

penelope said...

These are adorable! But why can't you post recipe?

Matthew said...

Brandon seems suspiciously curious. I'm gonna keep my eye on him. The cookies were very tasty!

Sara said...

Gorgeous cookie! Yum. :)

Ana Degenaar said...

So cool! I loved this post (as usual)

jeana sohn said...

they look so cute! maybe i should make more cookies tonight.

keepfeeling said...

the anchors and the whales!!!

i didn't start loving sugar cookies until a few years ago. i was late to the game. kind of like i was with beets. duh, should have known better.

amelia said...

penelope: At the beginning of the issue, Canal House makes it pretty clear that "no part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any manner whatsoever w/out written permission from the publisher." I have no such permission...but email me if you want it! :)

Jessica said...

This post totally made my day! Thanks for sharing all that inspires you!! When can we expect another video?
- Jess

Mary Anne said...

i have been trying to decide which holiday cookie to make next. these might fit the bill, especially if they weren't toooo sweet.

Melissa Levin said...

I recently discovered Canal House and LOVE it!! Love this post. So cozy!

amelia said...

Melissa: I know! SO funny b/c I was considering gifting it to Heather for her bday. it's so wonderful!! Have you tried making anything from them??

Jennifer said...

I just made these today. Its a hard dough to handle. I found that keeping the rolled out sheets in the freezer helped when cutting out the shapes. And I used plastic wrap and powdered instead of parchment for rolling out, the dough kept sticking horribly to the parchment. But they were definitely worth the trouble. Best sugar cookie recipe!

amelia said...

jennifer! thank you for saying as much! my mom (who has been reading the blog recently) asked me if I'd thought I'd rolled the dough out too thin. But I really think it was the butter factor, no? Next time, i think I'll try the freezer too. Happy Holidays!!