9 of our favorite cookie recipes for baking right now

Thick and chewy chocolate chunk cookies with oatmeal.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

I didn’t consider myself a cookie person until recently. Maybe a childhood experience is to blame. It’s an American platitude that everyone loves their mom’s chocolate chip cookies best. I do not like my mom’s chocolate chip cookies. (Sorry, Mom!)

As a kid I preferred dunking Chips Ahoy! into milk, until I outgrew them (but I do still have a soft spot for Oreos). I was thrilled when my grandmother in Tokyo occasionally sent tins of individually wrapped cigar cookies from a Japanese brand called Yoku Moku. But really, I always wanted a fudgy brownie or slice of layer cake over a cookie.

Mom made delicious, spectacular birthday cakes and even cream puffs from scratch. But for some reason she always experimented with cutting out at least half of the sugar in any chocolate chip cookie recipe, which rendered them thick and cakey. I begged her to just follow the instructions on the bag of chocolate chips, but she refused. I excavated the chocolate chips from the cookies and discarded the rest.


Then I found cookie nirvana decades later when I tried a florentine from legendary baker and dessert maker Alice Medrich: It was ultra thin and super crisp, nutty and extra buttery. There’s a recipe for her ginger florentines and many more versions of the lacy Italian cookie in her cookbook “Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies.” It changed my perspective on what a cookie could be.

I was reminded of that when we recently published a guide to 24 of the best cookies in Los Angeles. Among them are a brown-butter riff on the Hong Kong-style almond cookie, an airy-textured spelt thumbprint cookie with farmers market jam in the middle, and a brownie-like cookie injected with condensed milk and drizzled with caramel.

A fan favorite is Gusto Bread’s alfajor de nuez, a sandwich cookie made with walnuts and filled with dulce de leche. We happen to have the recipe for these cookies, so if you aren’t able to get in line at at the uber-popular Long Beach bakery, you can make them at home — along with eight more all-star L.A. Times recipes.

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Gusto Bread’s Alfajor de Nuez

Mixed with ground walnuts, the alfajores at Gusto have a distinct nutty crunch. Store-bought dulce de leche is great to use here, but the homemade kind is easy; sweetened condensed milk goes into a water bath in the oven to caramelize.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Alfajor de nuez sandwich cookies, in halves and assembled
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; prop styling / Leah Choi)

Hazelnut-Chocolate Linzer Cookies

Traditionally made with jam spread between two sandwiched cookies, these linzers are filled with chocolate-hazelnut spread instead. This recipe uses ground hazelnuts in the dough. A faint note of orange in the cookies plays against the chocolate.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour. Makes about 30 cookies.

Hazelnut chocolate Linzer cookies.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

Toasted on top and tender in the center, these buttery cookies are packed with juicy strawberries. For an even crunchier top, sprinkle with sanding or coarse raw sugar.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 45 minutes. Makes about 30 cookies

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies, with many pieces of strawberry
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

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Brown Butter Espresso Cookies

Dry milk powder adds thousands more bits of browned nutty goodness to the butter in this uber-rich chocolate chip cookie from chef Mei Lin. The instant espresso powder adds depth of flavor that plays well with browned butter and chocolate.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour plus chilling time. Makes 3½ dozen cookies.

Brown Butter Espresso Cookies cool on a wire rack
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; food and prop styling / Leah Choi)

Giant Ginger Molasses Cookies

These are big 6-inch-across cookies from pastry chef Brad Ray. They’re crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. This might seem like an inordinate amount of molasses and spices, but they mellow out once baked for a perfectly balanced flavor.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour plus overnight chilling. Makes 16 large cookies.

Large Ginger Molasses Cookies on metal baking trays
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times; food and prop styling / Leah Choi)

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These chunky-crunchy-chewy cookies are chock-full of walnuts, oats and chocolate — thick and craggy with crisp edges and tender centers. Genevieve Ko says chopping the chocolate by hand gives you melty chunks but, as important, slivers as thin as splinters that season the dough throughout.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

A round plate of Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times; prop styling / Nidia Cueva)

Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies With Halva and Cardamom

These accidentally vegan cookies have an unmistakable sesame flavor. The halva candy melts while baking to form a sweet sesame pool on top of the cookies. For the tahini, chef Zoë Komarin likes to use the Har Bracha brand, but use any good brand with the texture of peanut butter.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour. plus chilling time. Makes 32 cookies.

Halva Cardamom Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies
(Silvia Razgova / For the Times; food and prop styling / Leah Choi)

Julie Giuffrida found out exactly what readers want in a chocolate chip cookie: chewy and gooey (when warm) with crispy edges and a hint of salt. These are not too sweet, not too thin, and the recipe calls for chocolate chunks and other basic ingredients that are readily available in a typical grocery store. Once your butter and eggs are at room temperature, you can whip up a batch in less than an hour.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 1 hour. Makes about 80 2-inch cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies at Los Angeles Times test kitchen in El Segundo.
(Stephanie S. Shih / For The Times)

Barley Thumbprints With Honey and Hazelnuts

Barley is a terrific baking flour because it adds hints of malt and a natural sweetness, says Maria Speck, author of “Simply Ancient Grains.” Here the whole-grain flour is combined with toasted hazelnuts, honey and citrus zest for a supremely fragrant cookie.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 50 minutes. Makes about 32 cookies.

Barley Thumbprint cookies with honey and hazelnuts.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

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