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Really Awesome Butter Cookies

ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morningAnd the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
edited December 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Last week my husband and I went to a local bakery and I bought some butter cookies that were delicious, and now all I want is butter cookies. Problem: they're $Texas for 1/4 lb, which is about 6 cookies, and when I'm finished gorging myself I'd like to have enough to bring to upcoming parties and so forth.

The cookies were very buttery but light, slightly larger than a half-dollar around, and about 1/3" thick. They didn't crumble too easily, but weren't too hard. I've done some looking around on various recipe-collection websites, but many recipes require a cookie press, or are for spritz cookies, and that's not exactly what I'm looking for.

I'm hoping that someone here has a recipe that can approximate these cookies; failing that, a recipe for light but buttery butter cookies would be much appreciated. The simpler the recipe is the better, because my baking experience is limited.

And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
ceres on

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    From CI:

    French butter cookies
    Turbinado sugar is commonly sold as Sugar in the Raw. Demerara sugar, sanding sugar, or another coarse sugar can be substituted. Make sure the cookie dough is well chilled and firm so that it can be uniformly sliced. After the dough has been wrapped in parchment, it can be double-wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 2 weeks.

    INGREDIENTS
    1 large egg
    10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
    1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (2 3/4 ounces)
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
    1 teaspoon large egg white , lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
    4 teaspoons turbinado sugar (see note)

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Place egg in small saucepan, cover with 1 inch water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill small bowl with ice water. Using slotted spoon, transfer egg to ice water and let stand 5 minutes. Crack egg and peel shell. Separate yolk from white; discard white. Press yolk through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl.

    2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, salt, and cooked egg yolk on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl and beater with rubber spatula as needed. Turn mixer to low, add vanilla, and mix until incorporated. Stop mixer; add flour and mix on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, press dough into cohesive mass.

    3. Divide dough in half; roll each piece into log about 6 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in 12-inch square of parchment paper and twist ends to seal and firmly compact dough into tight cylinder (see illustrations below). Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

    4. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Using chef’s knife, slice dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds, rotating dough so that it won’t become misshapen from weight of knife. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Using pastry brush, gently brush cookies with egg white mixture and sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.

    5. Bake until centers of cookies are pale golden brown with edges slightly darker than centers, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes; using thin metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature. Store cooled cookies between sheets of parchment paper in airtight container for up to 1 week.

    Glazed butter cookies
    If you cannot find superfine sugar, you can obtain a close approximation by processing regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 20 seconds. If desired, the cookies can be finished with sprinkles or other decorations immediately after glazing.

    INGREDIENTS

    Butter Cookie Dough
    2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
    3/4 cup superfine sugar (5 1/2 ounces)
    1/4 teaspoon table salt
    16 tablespoons unsalted butter , ( 2 sticks) cut into sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons cream cheese , at room temperature

    Glaze
    1 tablespoon cream cheese , at room temperature
    3 tablespoons milk
    1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (6 ounces)

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1. FOR THE COOKIES: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.

    2. Remove bowl from mixer; knead dough by hand in bowl for 2 to 3 turns to form large cohesive mass. Turn out dough onto countertop; divide in half, pat into two 4-inch disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 2 weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)

    3. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 dough disk to even 1/8-inch thickness between 2 large sheets parchment paper; slide rolled dough on parchment onto baking sheet and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with second disk.

    4. Working with first portion of rolled dough, cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter(s) and place shapes on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Repeat with second portion of rolled dough. (Dough scraps can be patted together, chilled, and re-rolled once.) Cool cookies on wire rack to room temperature.

    5. FOR THE GLAZE: Whisk cream cheese and 2 tablespoons milk in medium bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding remaining milk as needed until glaze is thin enough to spread easily. Drizzle or spread scant teaspoon glaze with back of spoon onto each cooled cookie, as desired.

    It sounds like the French one is what you want, but I don't know for sure.

    Qingu on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    what about those cans that have the butter cookies with the giant grains fo sugar on them? those are prtty cheap

    mts on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    Those tins are good, but it's not quite the same. My grandparents used to have those around soemtimes.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I assume you've already looked for a Good Eats episode.

    Sir Carcass on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    Yeah.. most of the recipes that look easiest involve 4-6 ingredients. I'm just not sure what produces the best results. I'm not really confident enough to try anything super-complicated yet.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    UncleChetUncleChet N00b Lancaster, PARegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I have a betty crocker "cooky" book from the early 60s. I'll see what betty has once I get home and do my best to post it. I love to cook so I can hopefully simplify it for you too.

    UncleChet on
    I'm sometimes grumpy and random, feel free to overlook the strange man in the corner.
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    JdNoaJdNoa Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I haven't made this recipe myself, but it's from a cookbook (The Perfect Recipe) that I've had great results with, especially for desserts, and it looks pretty straightforward:

    16 tbsp unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
    1 c superfine sugar (or run 1 cup of normal white sugar through a blender or food processor until very fine)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 egg yolk + 1 egg
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    2.5 c all-purpose flour


    Cream butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
    Add yolk, beat well, add whole egg and vanilla, beat well.
    Add flour, beat on low until just mixed in.
    Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic, refrigerate until firm. (at least 1 hour, up to 2 days)

    Put oven racks at upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 375 F.
    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
    Take one piece of dough from fridge, divide in half, then re-wrap one half and put back in fridge until you need it. (ie work with 1/4 of the dough at any time while leaving the rest in the fridge.)
    Lightly flour surface and roll dough to 1/8", then use a cookie cutter -OR- form the dough into little balls, about 1 tbsp each, and flatten them with the greased bottom of a glass (dipped in flour if needed).

    Bake cookies, rotating sheet halfway through baking, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Use a thin spatula to transfer them immediately to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.

    Makes about 7 dozen 2.5" cookies. Can be stored in airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

    JdNoa on
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    UncleChetUncleChet N00b Lancaster, PARegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Unfortunately my cooky book had butter balls and crunch and other stuff, but not butter cookies. I am fail

    UncleChet on
    I'm sometimes grumpy and random, feel free to overlook the strange man in the corner.
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    JdNoa wrote: »
    1 c superfine sugar (or run 1 cup of normal white sugar through a blender or food processor until very fine)
    Just out of curiosity, is confectioner's sugar instead verboten? It's not a big deal to put sugar through a food processor, I'm just wondering.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    radroadkillradroadkill MDRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Were they possibly Brittany Butter cookies? I don't have my recipe handy but here's a similar one:

    http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/brittany-butter-cookies-ru312654.html

    radroadkill on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    Were they possibly Brittany Butter cookies? I don't have my recipe handy but here's a similar one:

    http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipes/brittany-butter-cookies-ru312654.html
    I don't know but those sound delicious, and I think I totally have all that stuff.

    I have enough butter, eggs, flour, and sugar that I should be able to try about 4 different recipes.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    JdNoaJdNoa Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Icing sugar tends to have corn starch added to it, so it's probably not a good substitute for other sugars in baking. I've never actually bothered to buy superfine sugar, so I've always thrown regular sugar in a blender for recipes that call for it, and it's worked so far.

    edit: also, I know what I'm doing this weekend. mmm, cookies...

    JdNoa on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    ceres wrote: »
    JdNoa wrote: »
    1 c superfine sugar (or run 1 cup of normal white sugar through a blender or food processor until very fine)
    Just out of curiosity, is confectioner's sugar instead verboten? It's not a big deal to put sugar through a food processor, I'm just wondering.
    Confectioners sugar/powdered sugar is no go for a substitute for superfine. Confectioner's sugar has cornstarch.

    Qingu on
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2009
    Ohhhhh.. yeah, I really haven't done as much baking as I'd like. :)

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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