Friday, December 3, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 48

I still find it hard to believe that I have baked 48 new recipes of cookies so far this year.  And that's not counting all those times I snuck in the tried and true, taking-to-my grave recipes in-between all that!  As much as I love cookies and baking them, it's time for a break.  It will REALLY be time for a break once I get through the month of December and all the Cookie Journey cookies as well as all of those holiday favorites that my husband and kids will kick me out of the family if I do not bake.

This week, I just felt the need to bake a very simple, understated cookie.  The Christmas season, for me, brings on the showy cookies, the cookies that require many steps, the cookies that I only bake this time of year because they require many steps.

So I kind of gave myself a break before really throwing myself into it.  It also doesn't help that I came down with the mother of all head colds this week and, frankly, I just didn't feel like baking cookies and these babies were made begrudgingly every step of the way. 

I hate to think what I'd do if I ever did become seriously ill.  Let's hope that never happens.  Not just because it would be terrible, but because the world needs more cookies in it and I'm doing my part.

You know.  Peace.  Love.  Chocolate Chip Cookies.  (I swear I saw that on a bumper sticker somewhere.) 

From one of my very favorite baking cookbooks, "A Passion For Baking" by Marcy Goldman...

Brittany Butter Cookies
Here's What You Need:
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Here's What You Do:
Using the whisk attachment of your mixer, whisk the egg yolks and sugar for a couple of minutes. 

You want it to be a light yellow color when you're done. 

Slowly add the softened butter and vanilla.  Combine.

At this point, I removed the whisk attachment and put the regular mixer paddle on.  Slowly add the flour and salt.  Blend until the dough is thick and stiff. 

I wish I had held back about 1/2 cup of flour and then waited to see what the dough looked like.  I felt like the dough was a bit too dry.  Try this if you make these cookies.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes.  This is not one of those cookie doughs that you can come back to 24 hours.  I did that for a myriad of reasons.  It took forever for this cookie dough to become pliable enough for me to work with and even then, it was difficult.  I think I would have had much greater results if I had baked the cookies the same day that I mixed the dough. 

Live and learn.

Roll the dough out to a 3/4 inch thickness.  Yes, you read right.  Three-quarters' inch thick, is pretty thick.  But remember, these cookies are much like the Walker brand butter cookies, also famous for their shortbread.  So, the recipe says to use a 3 inch round cookie cutter. 

Owen gave me a hand with this chore while I washed up some dishes.
I wanted to make smaller cookies, so I used a 2 inch.  Place the cookies on a a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Mix together 2 Tablespoons water and 2 more egg yolks.  Brush generously over the tops of the cookies. 

Bake for 50 minutes.  Check them at 40 minutes.  I wish I had.  I didn't take into account the fact that I made smaller cookies.  Again, trying to do too many things at once in too short a time period.  This just wasn't a good week for me to be baking cookies.  It's a wonder my family ate a single home cooked meal.  Thank goodness for some handy leftovers I plucked from the freezer!

Next week...I promise to offer up something Christmas Cookie-worthy!

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