I'm still posting recipes I made last Tuesday - that was clearly a banner baking day. Tomorrow is officially back to the working world for me. I'm still behind by a few more blog posts of what I've made last week but I've written them up ahead of time so I can post them with a click of a button next week and hopefully it'll be enough to see me through the week. I'd gotten used to baking and posting almost daily but once I exhaust my backlog posts, I'll have to scale back a bit until I adjust to a full-time working schedule again. In the meantime....
Bakewise by Shirley Corriher gave me one of the best brownie recipes I've ever made. Considering exactly how many I've made over the years (well over 150+), that's saying something. So I had high hopes for this butter cookie. Despite their simplicity or maybe because of their simplicity, good butter cookies are hard to find. Some taste great but spread too much because they contain too much butter and some don't spread at all and are dry because they don't have enough butter. I love plain butter cookies. I'll even admit that, much as I scoff at "storebought" cookies and prefer to make my own, I love those danish butter cookies that come in the big tins every Christmas. I can eat those like kettle corn, popping them in my mouth one after the other. So much for portion control.
Given how good Shirley's brownie recipe is, I was willing to give this recipe as much optimism as possible. The dough was very easy to work with, not too crumbly, not too greasy. I only made a half recipe because I'm trying out as many recipes as possible this week so I was going for quantity of different recipes, not necessarily a lot out of each recipe. I refrigerated it overnight and baked off what I needed for goodie bags the next day.
I love these cookies - they're awesome slices of butter goodness and the rock sugar or sugar crystals you roll them in before chilling and baking are a perfect complement both texture-wise with their crunch and taste-wise with their sweetness against the butter cookie. For once, I don't advocate underbaking - these cookies taste best when they're baked properly for the right amount of time. The edges will be crisp-crunchy like a good butter cookie should have and you don't want the middles too soft or mushy but with a uniform "snap" to them. Shirley Corriher scores once again, not just with a good recipe but with one of the best versions I've tried so far out of any recipe for this cookie - that makes 2 for 2 from her book. Oh, and it goes without saying to please use fresh butter - not something that's been sitting unused in the refrigerator for weeks or months. You want to taste the sheer butter goodness.
ETA: forgot to add but someone reminded me - I substituted vanilla extract for the almond extract in this recipe and it was just fine. I love almonds but not almond extract so I always automatically substitute vanilla extract wherever almond extract is called for.
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 2-tablespoon pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pure almond extract (I used vanilla extract)
2 large egg yolks
2 ¼ cups (9.9 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour
½ cup coarse or crystal sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1. In a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, salt and almond extract until light and creamy. Add the yolks, one at a time, and beat with each addition, just to blend in thoroughly.
2. On low speed, beat in the flour, scraping down the bowl twice. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each into a log about 1 ½ inches in diameter.
3. Sprinkle coarse sugar evenly on wax paper, the length of the rolls and about 4 inches wide. Brush a roll lightly with beaten egg, then roll in sugar to coat well. Repeat with each roll. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. About 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, place a shelf in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375⁰F.
5. Cover a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Slice cookies into 3/8-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart on the sheet.