Making ‘fast food’ with Mark Bittman

For my favorite cookbook author, the one I call my cookbook boyfriend because I love him so much, rapid cooking IS better. Who says you need to make love (to your FOOD you dirty minds) for hours. A quickie is great.

AND this book is big! How’s ’bout that? How to Cook Everything Fast is huggggge. And it is not just the size that counts, it is what you can do with it. Bittman points out that to cook quickly you need to strategize, and not compromise quality.

The romance goes on. Bittman encourages having helpers in the kitchen to speed things up. I will take his helping hand any day of the week. This tip is one of many other strategies Bittman employs: multi-tasking, chopping things smaller so they cook more quickly, making dishes that are a complete meal in and of themselves, and knowing when it is OK to use short-cut ingredients are some examples.

The cool thing about this book is that it doesn’t just list ingredients and methods. It color codes how to go about making the recipe in the most efficient way possible. Cooking instructions are in black, alternating with ingredient preparation steps in blue. This makes multitasking easy. It is a vast departure from most cookbooks that dictate prepping all ingredients first.

I could go on in the ways in which Bittman is my true love but I will get to this week’s recipe, and implore you to get on the Bittman bus. Even though I maintain that he is my cookbook boyfriend.

What’s faster than cookies besides just dough? Bittman is so brilliant that he included a recipe for just that. Please note this dough is more than worthy when not shaped and iced, too. Also note you can make it vegan if you want. And it’s raw. Cheers to your health and cookie dough!

Almond Cookie Dough adapted from How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman

  • 1 cup almonds (I bought the type that was chopped and skinless)
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (okay so I used a full teaspoon because I love vanilla)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, or vegan buttery spread if you’d like it vegan (unsalted!)
  • 1/4 cup flour (mine was unbleached)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 lemon

Put all except the powdered sugar and lemon in a food processor and process until a dough forms. Add tiny amounts of water if it is too dry but be very careful. I made this once and added WAY too much more and was unable to shape it. The second time I added nothing and just processed it more, so proceed with caution.

Take rounded tablespoons of the dough and make balls, then use your thumb to make a little well on top of them. Squeeze 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and mix well with the powdered sugar, then fill the wells with the frosting. Yea. Dough. Worth it.