Try these cookies for the lunchbox crowd

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 29, 2014 - 1:05 PM

Three entries in our 11th annual Holiday Cookie Contest got us thinking – and baking – beyond December. Time to hit the lunchbox.

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Oatmeal Toffee Discs are perfect lunchbox cookies.

Photo: Rick Nelson, Star Tribune

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During the taste test we conducted last October for our 11th annual holiday cookie contest, a theme seemed to reverberate among the 22 judges, and it went something like this: “I like it, but it’s not a Christmas cookie.”

Other variations included “I’d bake these for the kids during the school year, although not in December,” “These have ‘everyday cookie’ written all over them” and, most memorably, “Wouldn’t this be a great lunchbox cookie?”

That’s what can happen when 34 recipes are evaluated in a single seating. Some trends are bound to emerge from the pile.

One wrinkle that we’re revisiting — and enjoying — all these months later is the pleasure of a lower-profile cookie. Sure, it might not necessarily possess the flashy individuality required to make a favorable impression on a crowded holiday tray, yet it still manages to cover all the cookie bases — and then some — without resorting to Toll House familiarity.

The three recipes we have here go above and beyond that description. Along with their own specific levels of deliciousness, each cookie proves that there’s always more to discover in the world of chocolate chips, peanut butter, oatmeal, coconut and pecans. Oh, and because all three recipes are prepared using the drop formula, they’re relatively easy to make.

Go ahead, add a new cookie to your lunchbox repertoire. And thanks to bakers Theresa Neely of Maplewood, Linda Faust of Minneapolis and Mary Ellen Wingen of Owatonna, Minn., for giving all of us more reasons to bake — and snack — this winter.

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