Fresh cookies are a bite of childhood nostalgia that everyone is entitled to indulge in, especially when adult problems crop up. Maybe you’re “in between ovens” right now, or your landlord has been replacing the gas line to the building for a year, or maybe you just don’t have a conventional oven. Sometimes that big ol’ box of flames isn’t worth turning on anyway, so let’s forget baking and explore some alternate cookie making methods.
The waffle iron
Turns out, smashing cookie dough between two non-stick hot plates is a great idea. The waffle iron leaves an attractive pattern, perfect for a smear of peanut butter, jam, or holding little pockets of residual milk from dipping. If you have a large, Belgian-style waffle iron you can make about four cookies at once, just put a cookie dough mound in each of the quadrants. If you have a tiny waffle iron then you may have to do one at a time, but luckily it only takes about 90 seconds to cook.
The air fryer
Possibly one of the most thrilling home kitchen appliances to grace my life recently has been the tiny convection oven we know as an air fryer. There are so many things she can accomplish, and one of them is the air fryer cookie. Depending on the type you have, you can load the cookie dough into a ramekin and acheive something of a deep-dish cookie, or line the miniature baking sheet with parchment, and set a few cookies on it like you would for a conventional oven. Bake at 350°F for 5-10 minutes depending on the recipe and size of cookie.
The slow cooker
If you love a giant, thick cookie that you can eat in slices, I suggest making a crock pot cookie. It’s the sort of thing you load up earlier in the day, forget about, and when the timer goes off it’s like someone surprised you with a giant cookie! How thoughtful of you. It’s important to thoroughly grease up the slow cooker vessel and line it with parchment paper. This ensures the cookie doesn’t stick to the sides, but also gives you something to grab onto so you can lift it out in one impressive piece.
Making cookies in the microwave is living life on the edge, but it’s fast and it works. Line a microwave-safe plate with a strip of parchment paper, add a ball of cookie dough and, depending on the cookie and the size, nuke it for 45-90 seconds. My advice is to start on the shorter side of time, especially if there are chocolate chips involved. It’s hard to get the smell of burnt chocolate out of the microwave. Allow the cookie to rest for a couple minutes and it will set as it cools. Alternatively, load a mug, or ramekin with cookie dough and make a miniature deep dish cookie.
If we can all get behind pan-cakes then we can support pan-cookies, no? Pan-baking cookies on the stove top is as easy as dropping in a dollop of dough, covering the pan with a lid, and snapping on the heat to a low setting. I recommend using room temperature dough, flattening the dough a little, and taking it off the heat when the top is still a little shiny but the bottom has a tinge of brown. Cookies are usually high in sugar content, and these are sitting on direct heat, so experiment with the timing to keep them from scorching.
Let’s forget heat altogether and embrace the no-bake cookie. They’re usually composed of flavour and saturated fat, what more could you want? The fat is necessary for solidifying at room temperature, and usually comes in the form of peanut butter, chocolate, or butter. Combine the ingredients and shape them into flat disks or balls, set the batch of cookies in the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes, and enjoy!
The sous vide
Sure, baking cookies in air is great, but why not cook them in water? You can use an immersion circulator to make perfectly safe, soft cookies in a tub of water. Loading the cookie dough into a bag probably won’t deliver the most shapely cookies, so press the dough into the bottom of a flat-sided jar to help them retain a round, cookie-like shape. After you remove them from the jars, allow the cookies to cool in the fridge for a spell to help them firm up.
The deep fryer
I can’t think of anything that’s come out of a deep fryer that I didn’t like, and cookies certainly won’t disrupt that pattern. There are cookies that are intended to be fried, like khanom dok jog, or these rosette cookies, but it’s not advisable to put high-fat drop cookies straight into a fryer, because they’ll break apart and soak up too much oil as they cook. You’ll have to batter them. (Oh darn, battered and fried? How awful.) This recipe uses pancake mix to make the outside coating. Ball up the cookie dough, dunk them in the thick batter, and drop them in the hot frying oil. Toss them in a light dusting of powdered sugar, and enjoy all of the glorious fried cookie textures.
If you’re a die-hard soft cookie lover, try steaming your cookie dough. Set up a steamer basket, or other steaming device, on the stove top and line it with some parchment paper. Add flattened balls of cookie dough and cover the basket for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are set. The humid atmosphere will help retain the moisture of the dough, resulting in a sweet snack unmatched in pillowy softness.
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