Did you know there was such a thing as National Cookie Day? And that it’s December 4? Which just happens to be tomorrow, a day I was planning on bringing cookies to work anyway, because I’d been feeling in the mood for baking cookies?

Cookies #1: big and shiny

In honor of two compelling reasons to make cookies, I present you with two superb cookie recipes. Well, actually, the cookies I was first thinking of making called for egg whites, and I couldn’t help but look through my recipes to see if I could find another recipe that would make good use of the yolks. And then the yolk-using cookies had to chill in the freezer for a while, so it was really just as well that I had white-using cookies to bake in the meantime. Cookie-making efficiency! What better way to celebrate National Cookie Day?

Cookies #2: small and unevenly browned, because I'm bad at making even slices of dough

The white-using cookies, dubbed “Chocolate Featherweight Cookies with Walnuts and Cocoa Nibs,” manage to be densely fudgy while also being delicate. I suppose any cookie without flour, butter, or egg yolks is bound to be light (take note, gluten-free and low-fat eaters: you can have these!). I omitted the walnuts, but the cocoa nibs (I found some at Whole Foods) were a fantastic addition—they really up the chocolate ante.

Mixing the nibs into the batter

The yolk-using cookies are icebox cardamon cookies, rich and spicy little coins. I think cardamom is an underappreciated dessert spice—this Turkish Coffee Pudding with cardamom is one of my favorite desserts ever—and these cookies provide excellent support for my cardamom campaign. They’re so lovely that I forgive them for only using up one egg yolk.

Chocolate Featherweight Cookies with Walnuts and Cocoa Nibs
From Orangette

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cocoa nibs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack to the middle position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, taking care that there are no lumps.

Combine the vanilla and egg whites in a measuring cup or mug, and slowly add them to the cocoa mixture, beating at low speed. When you have added all the liquid, continue to beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the batter is glossy and smooth. It will be fairly thin but quite viscous. Stir in the walnuts and cocoa nibs.

Using a medium (roughly 2 Tbs) ice cream scoop, place 5 mounds of batter about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. The batter will spread [because it’s basically just puddles]. Slide the pan into the oven, reduce the heat to 325 degrees, and bake the cookies until small, thin cracks appear on their surface, about 14-17 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and cool them completely on a rack. When they are cool, peel them gently from the parchment paper. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, increasing the oven temperature to 350 degrees before each round. It should take three rounds total to use all the batter.

Yield: 14-15 large cookies

Cardamom Cookies
From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

1/4 lb unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk. Stir in the cardamom, salt, and flour.

Divide the dough in two, roughly shape each piece into a log about 1 inch thick, then roll in plastic wrap or wax paper. Pull each log through you thumb and first finger to make it even and, if you prefer, longer and narrower. Refrigerate until firm or freeze until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch rounds or diagonals and set themon cookie sheets at least 1 inch apart. Bake until pale golden on top and lightly browned around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. Serve plain or dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

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