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I love recipes that I make over and over again. I wrote about how to create your own repertoire of go-to dishes here, and I mentioned a go-to dessert, but the holidays require something more specific. The holidays require cookies, and I am not one to say no to cookies.

I first started making these cookies a few years ago when an elegant older woman (and one of the best bakers I know) served them to me at her house. They’re on the salty side, but in a way that is completely addictive and keeps you going back for bite after bite. When I asked her what they were, I expected her to share an extremely complicated recipe, but she laughed and told me they’re the easiest cookies she’s ever made. Since then, I’ve made them several times a year, freezing them, bringing them to parties, eating them as breakfast or a midnight snack, and always, always feeling smug about how easy and delicious they are. You, too, deserve to feel smug about your cookies!

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They key is double chocolate: cocoa powder is stirred into the mix alongside the flour and other dry ingredients, and then chopped chocolate is added to the dough. I know it’s annoying to say, but if you’re going to spring for any fancy ingredient for this endeavor, it’s worth getting Droste cocoa powder and a nice, rich bittersweet chocolate bar, instead of the chips you normally use for baking.

The finished dough is formed into logs, refrigerated (or frozen!) then cut into slices and baked briefly. The recipe calls for you to dip the finished cookies in chocolate, and I sometimes do that. I also sometimes sprinkle them with sea salt and leave them be, or bake in little chunks of peppermint for an extra Christmas-y vibe. If you go the peppermint route, you’ll likely find yourself reminded of Thin Mints. You’re welcome.

These aren’t the Christmas cookies that shout from the dessert table. They’re attractive, but they don’t demand your attention. Leave those attention-grabbers (and tastebud-disappointers) to everyone else, the people who want to sweat and toil over rolled-out, cut-outs of Christmas trees that always end up looking…kind of bad. These cookies call quietly—they’re the type of cookie that someone might notice at a holiday party, sample, and then spend the rest of the evening asking every single guest if they know who made them.

I’m just saying—I’ve seen it happen. 

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