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“Sweet Dreams” cookies

Shortly after graduating from Johnson & Wales University, I moved to Washington, D.C. and began working as an assistant pastry chef at Firehook Bakery. I worked for a very talented Pastry Chef, Kate Jansen, who made all of the pastries from scratch and created many of her own recipes. Kate’s original recipes included two of my favorite cookies: “Sweet Dreams,” which were a unique variation of chocolate chip cookies, and “Presidential Sweets”–a “kitchen sink” type of cookie that Kate named after Hillary & Chelsea Clinton (during Bill Clinton’s presidency) when they visited the bakery on the day that Kate was testing and tasting her newest cookie creation.

Several years after leaving Firehook Bakery to move back to my home state of Ohio, I coincidentally re-encountered the Presidential Sweet cookies: I was reading an article in Ohio Magazine about Andrew’s Pastries, a bakery in my hometown of Marion, Ohio. The article mentioned that Pastry Chef Andrew Swartz had previously worked in Washington, D.C., and Andrew shared his recipe for Presidential Sweet cookies in the article–the recipe being very much like the one I remembered making at Firehook. It seemed like too much of a coincidence to be accidental.

So when I had occasion to return to Marion for my high school reunion, I made a point of stopping by Andrew’s Pastries to meet Andrew and ask him if he had worked at Firehook Bakery. Sure enough, Andrew worked for Kate at Firehook before my stint there. What a
small culinary world! I couldn’t believe that two pastry chefs who had worked at the same independent bakery in Washington, D.C. were now both living and working in Central Ohio–how amazing! It was a complete pleasure to meet and get to know Andrew, and I enjoy visiting him in his bakery whenever I go back to Marion.

Having Andrew’s Sweet Dream cookies (no doubt, the same recipe I had made at Firehook) inspired me to try to re-create the recipe myself. I remembered that the cookie was essentially a chocolate chip cookie
with cinnamon and ginger added to the dough and rolled in powdered sugar before baking. I had to try several different variations before I settled on a recipe that tasted close enough to the original for my
satisfaction. But I was very pleased when I finally decided that I got it right.

What started out as a simple restaurant review in a local travel magazine has brought me immeasurable value: it connected me to a talented pastry chef who hails from the same experience and background as myself, and it inspired me to re-create one of my favorite unique cookie recipes, which I can now share with you. Enjoy!

“Sweet Dreams”

½ C. shortening
½ C. unsalted butter, softened
¾ C. granulated sugar
¾ C. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 pkg. chocolate chips (12 ounces)

Sifted powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Creaming Method: Beat the shortening, butter, sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed for 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Scrape down bowl each time. Then add vanilla and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Then add to above and mix just until blended.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  6. Form cookies with a small scoop, then drop into a bowl of sifted powdered sugar and coat well.
  7. Place cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake 10-12 min. until lightly golden brown. Do not over-bake! The cookies will continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
  9. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes. The transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

8 comments to “Sweet Dreams” cookies

  • Sounds like a good recipe..I’m going to try it. The recipe says to add water but it doesn’t say how much. Will you shed some light on this?

  • Thank you, Romana, for noticing the error in my recipe! I appreciate the proof-reading help!! 🙂

    The original recipe (that I adapted) called for a small amount of water, but I tested the recipe both with and without the water, and I found no noticeable difference in the texture of the cookies, so I simply omitted the water when I revised the list of ingredients. But I overlooked the water in the “directions” part of the recipe. I’m so glad you caught my mistake! I edited the recipe to avoid any future confusion.

    I DO love this cookie recipe. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do!

  • I am SO excited right now. I absolutely LOVE cookies. This is my most favorite cookie in the world. I would long for my trips to DC, where I could indulge in a “Sweet Dreams” cookie. My boyfriend reminded me about these a few days ago, as he stopped into the Dupont store. I cannot wait to bake these. I may even do it tonight! Thank you SO much for posting.

  • Hi Kiki, Fantastic! I’m so glad you have enjoyed Firehook Bakery’s delectable desserts on your trips to Washington, D.C. My Pastry Chef, Kate Jansen, has since moved on, but I’m sure her legacy still remains in the recipes of Firehook Bakery. I’m glad I am able to connect you with some of your favorite food memories–always a treat! Enjoy!

  • Lala

    I feel bad that I have not thanked you for posting this recipe despite enjoying making and eating these cookies for over a year! Family and friends who had them can’t stop eating them. I live in the DC-area and do enjoy Firehook’s version, but it’s nice to have these ready at home when the craving kicks in (I freeze the balls of dough, and bake small batches at a time). THANK YOU!

  • Fantastic! I’m glad to hear you have been making and enjoying this recipe for over a year! I do miss all the delicious pastries at Firehook Bakery. Next time you go, please enjoy something for me!

  • Lenore

    How wonderful! I always miss these and the Presidential Sweet cookies when I’m far from DC. I don’t like to use shortening, though. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute? Thank you!

  • If you don’t want to use vegetable shortening, you could simply use all butter. Butter has a better flavor, of course, and I agree that shortening is questionable since it is full of trans fats. The only reason I sometimes use it in chocolate chip cookies is because I like cookies that are thicker and chewier, rather than thin and crispy. Using shortening for half of the fat makes the cookies spread less. If you use all butter for the fat, then the cookies will spread out a little more and be a little thinner, but they would still be perfectly fine.

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