Butter cookies to be exact. This is from BakeWise by Shirley Corriher (2008). I thought I would try new cookies this year and these were described as “melt-in-your-mouth”. That sounded tasty.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 large egg yolks
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
This is a basic butter cookie. Cream butter, sugar, salt, and almond extract. Add egg yolks one at at time, then the flour. This gets rolled into a log, refrigerated, sliced, and then baked at 375 degrees F for 14 minutes.
In this book she has two of these butter cookie recipes. The difference is 1/2 cup sugar in the dough. The decorating/finishing is different as well. In the above recipe the logs get brushed with egg and rolled in course sugar. The second recipe has 1/2 cup less sugar in the dough and an indentation is made and filled with jelly.
I made the above batter and did both of the finishing touches.
For the recipes in this book the author talks about the science of the baking in a “What This Recipe Shows” section.
For my “What this recipe shows” is that 1) I did not get the dough mixed very thoroughly as butter spots kind of burned the edges on some, 2) I have difficulty evenly slicing cookie dough logs, and 3) I am not that big a fan of butter cookies. These were tasty enough but not my “go to” cookie of choice.
I have forsaken Sister’s tried and true sugar cookie recipe for the magazine’s. Cook’s Illustrated Holiday 2007 boasts The Best Sugar Cookies. Well, I thought I would see about that. They had a gingered option and because I love all things ginger, I made that version. I always have fresh ginger root in my freezer.
2 cups all-purpose flour (someday I am going to make everything with whole wheat pastry flour but not today)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I always use unsalted butter; I suppose if you use salted butter you could leave out the salt, but I am not certain of that.)
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling dough
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
And for the gingered version:
in food processor, process 1 teaspoon (I used 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced) with the 1/2 cup sugar for rolling the dough for about 10-20 seconds. place this in a shallow bowl
add 2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger to the sugar along with the eggs and vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk dry ingredients together in medium bowl, set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add egg, vanilla, and crystallized ginger and beet about 30 seconds until combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined; scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Form dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in the ginger sugar. The sugar was moist probably because my ginger was from the freezer. This actually helped it stick to the dough nicely. Place 2 inches apart on lined baking pans. Now butter a bottom of a drinking glass and dip in the gingered sugar and flatten each cookie to 3/4 inch thick.
Bake 15 minutes. Edges will be lightly browned. These spread some in the baking. My second pan kind of spread together but not too much. That doesn’t affect the taste.
These have a nice sugary crunch on the outside and are slightly chewy on the inside. The ginger is very subtle. I like them and so does Hubby. And we tend to think of sugar cookies as rather bland, but not these.