Something strange happens around June first in Lower Manhattan: everybody moves.
New York is a transient place already; there's a lot of coming and going. Additionally, between CUNY, NYU, the New School, and Pace University, there are a lot of students living in this neighborhood - all of whom have leases that expire on June first. In fact, I imagine that many normal (ie., not-student) people have leases that end June first too, left over from their student days.
Advantages to the Great June First Exodus:
1. Getting rid of crappy miserable kid neighbors you hate because they pee off the roof onto your herb garden;
2. Sidewalk-scavenging for move-out household items such as a snazzy new pullout loveseat for your book nook, featured at right;
3. Getting new and potentially better neighbors;
4. Baking cookies to take to them.
I know - didn't people stop bringing their new neighbors cookies in like, 1959? Well, friends, the cookies are all part of a strategy to:
a) Get on good terms with new neighbors so they'll feel guilty about engaging in activites such as those of my neighbors directly upstairs, who play what I can only assume is a game of Race the Heavy Furniture Across the Floor and See Who Collides with the Wall Hardest;
b) Get a chance to bemoan the old tenants ("Oh man, everybody in the building hated them. They *list atrocities committed by previous tenant/imply guidlines for how not to behave in the building*...I'm so excited to have you here! You fellas seem very sweet and way more mature than that rabble");
c) Eat cookies;
d) Impress new/not-your-boyfriend audience with culinary ability;
e) Be nice! C'mon, people, why all the cynicism? What's the world coming to these days?
I took a plate of these flavor-packed cookies to pretty much everyone I could think of (because I need "about 66" delicious cookies in my apartment about as much as I need to be introvenously fed sticks of butter). They're easy-to-make drop cookies that have impressively sophisticated, complex flavor pairings.
Chocolate Cranberry Spice Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon groad cloves
Pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanuilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
7 oz. good quality white chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
(To toast walnuts, simply chop them and toss in a hot saute pan just until fragrant; set aside.)
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugars at medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cranberries, white chocolate, and walnuts. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least three hours (or up to three days), until firm.*
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
Pinch off pieces of the dough and shape into 1-inch blls. Arrange them on prepared sheets, spacing them two inches apart. Bake the cookies, once sheet at a time, for 9-11 minutes, until just set but very soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
Makes about 66 cookies.
*Three hours may seem like a long time, but it's really important. If you don't chill the dough for long enough, it won't be firm enough to take the heat in the oven and your cookies will come out flat.
This recipe comes straight to you from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle.
I upped the amp on the flavors in these cookies by using fresh-ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves (bless you, mini-Cuisinart food processor!). The tart cranberries are the best part - they stand out against the smooth, buttery white chocolate and the medley of spices.
Now go bake yourself some cookies. And save some for your neighbors.