There have always been cookies. But more glamorous things kept usurping them. Cupcakes! Doughnuts! Cronuts! Even muffins.
Plus, too many cookies are mediocre. The difference between a soft, chewy, crisp-around-the-edges cookie and a cookie that isn’t any of those things is colossal. Like the difference between buttery mashed potato and unseasoned, stringy mashed swede. I once made some Mary Berry cookies and they were fine when they came straight out of the oven (everything chocolatey is), but within 10 minutes they were solid. They were burly English biscuits and they embarrassed me.
Then there was a woman we could all trust not to waste our time with rigid cookies and I was able to start understanding them. When Deb Perelman said “Cookies … desire balance – crisp exteriors, supple interiors”, I felt her. All of her cookie recipes are worth your time.
Anyway, sometimes you want to show someone you like and cherish them using cookies, but it’s underwhelming to give them a tubful. I know. On these occasions, it’s quite good to build tall cookie stacks and weld them with mascarpone and white chocolate and good feelings.
The oatmeal cookies here are intentionally minimalist and chocolate-free to accommodate the absurd glue that binds them. Even so, they are texturally perfect (as above), oaty, buttery and good. Plus, they come out level, all the better for pilin’ up.
Always do exactly what you want but if I were you I would cut the whole thing like a cake.
A lined baking sheet
Pre-heated at 180ºC
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp fine salt
200g softened unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
175g rolled oats
200g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
200g white chocolate
Fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt or whatever flaky salt is your bag
MAKE THE COOKIE DOUGH:
1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and fine salt.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy.
3. Use a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl as you continue to beat.
4. Add the egg and vanilla and scrape ‘n’ beat again.
5. Pour in the oats and the flour mixture, and mix. The buttery mixture will just coat the oats.
6. With slightly damp hands, roll the cookie dough into 16-24 balls (you might prefer bigger cookies than mine) and pat them on to the baking sheet, leaving two-inch gaps in between them.
7. Sprinkle each cookie with flaky salt before you put them in the oven.
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, but always err on the side of under-baking.
MELT THE CREAM:
9. Melt the white chocolate and mascarpone together in a bain-marie (I added a bit of peach food colouring too).
10. Cookie, cream, cookie, cream… a bit of salt on top. Use the biggest, sturdiest cookies at the bottom (although actually they will all be exactly the same shape and size, of course).