Cookies are probably the most diverse category of baked goods. They can be soft, chewy, crispy, thin, thick, light, dense, filled, rolled, and many more descriptors. With cakes and pies you can play with the flavors and aesthetics but you can’t change the basic form too much. Cookies, however, are different. You can play with the ratios of basic ingredients wildly and the finished product will still be a cookie and will, most likely, taste good.
If you wanted to make a chocolate sheet cake but forgot the baking powder, the result would be better called a brownie than a cake. Forget the baking powder in sugar cookies, you’ll still have cookies. Make a pecan pie and forget the eggs, it’s pecan sugar soup in a crust bowl. Make chocolate chip cookies without the egg and you still get chocolate chip cookies.
Few recipes show the versatility of cookies better than lace cookies. They get their name from their lace-like appearance when cooked. They are thin, delicate, and easy to make (though they look kind of fancy). While many cookie recipes don’t use leaveners or skip the eggs or even use more sugar than flour, lace cookies do all these things. They taste like caramel or butterscotch in cookie form and are easily one of my favorites. The following recipe is my basic method, but you can add minced nuts, coconut, etc. for a different flavor and texture.
1) 1 stick softened butter
2) ½ cup white sugar
3) ½ cup brown sugar
4) 2 tablespoons corn syrup
5) ½ cup flour
6) ½ cup quick oats
7) ½ tsp salt
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter and sugar until combined. I like the flavor that brown sugar adds and I don’t mind the dark rich color. If you prefer lighter cookies, you can use all white sugar. Note: I have seen some lace cookie recipes use all powdered sugar as well, though I’ve never tried that.
2) Add the corn syrup and salt. Mix to combine.
3) Mix in the flour and oatmeal to finish the dough.
4) Refrigerate the dough for at least ½ hour. The dough can be refrigerated overnight as well.
5) Spoon 1 teaspoon full mounds onto a baking sheet, positioning them far apart. The cookies will spread anywhere from 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches in diameter when they bake. I also bake them on a silicone mat so as not to worry about them sticking. I highly recommend silicone mats for any thin cookie.
6) Bake on an upper middle oven rack for about 15 minutes or until evenly brown and lace like. When you take the cookies from the oven let them cook on the pan for a minute before attempting to remove them. When they are hot they will be soft, but as they cool they become firm and crisp, making them easier to handle.
7) Cool the cookies on a wire rack and store them in an airtight container for no longer than 7 days. Since these cookies have such a high sugar content they will draw moisture from the air and become soft again. I find it becomes noticeable at around the three-day mark.
8) This recipe makes well over 3 dozen cookies. Enjoy!