Paper Airplanes, Pretty Boys and the Perfect Bourbon Cookie

By Libbie Summers (from my book, Sweet and Vicious –baking with attitude, Rizzoli)
Photography by Chia Chong

Paper Airplane Decorations from Libbie Summers (photography by Chia Chong)

Even though I’ve been asked to swim in the lady pond more times than I can remember (I did play semi-pro softball, after all), it’s men that I love. Inspiring men.

Men who can design a room, stitch a dress, paint a canvas, draw a cartoon, drive a boat, catch a fish, host a television show, or take a photo—and look good doing it.

It was my dream to bring some of these dapper men together for the first-annual meeting of the Southern Sartorialists (stylish men living in the South). So I did. And they came. On a cool fall day in Savannah, eight men of all ages met under a two-hundred-year-old oak tree with paper airplanes strewn about: Matt (artist), Josh (yachtsman), Ray (professor), Jamie (TV personality), Cedric (photographer), Anthony (fisherman), and Joel and Mitch (designers). They talked politics, comic books, art, and fashion, and flew paper airplanes in between bites of these lightly sweetened Bourbon-laced oatmeal cookies.
Southern Sartorialist Cookies from Libbie Summers (photography by Chia Chong)
Southern Sartorialist’s Cookie
(a salty, smoky, bourbon-laced oatmeal cookie for dudes)
yields 24 cookies

2 cups pecans, roughly chopped
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon smoked salt (I use alderwood-smoked salt)
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1⁄4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats


Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook the pecans, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, just until they begin to toast. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, and the smoked salt. Remove from the heat and let cool in the pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 1⁄2 cup butter, the shortening, and the remaining brown sugar for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste, bourbon, and cream and beat until well incorporated. Add the egg and beat just until combined. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture in three increments. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer and stir in the pecan mixture and the oats by hand.

Drop the dough by big heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes, until the cookies are puy and lightly browned on the edges. Allow to cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Perfect with two fingers of bourbon.
Southern Sartorialist's Cookie from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Southern Sartorialist's Cookie Party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Southern Sartorialist's Cookie Party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Paper Airplanes/after the party from Libbie Summers (Photography by Chia Chong)

Watch this party come alive!

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