Christmas Eve is almost here. It’s a great excuse to get the kids into the kitchen to bake a batch of cookies . Not a bad way to spend a snow day and a sweet cure for cabin fever. Luckily, Adrian & Lily are nearly always willing participants for any baking project. But the photo-taking — not so much — I’ll have to say they did pretty well, even worn out from sledding.
I love homemade cookies but don’t bake them often so I went to Gourmet.com to brush up on my skills. They have some wonderful instructional videos and I found the one on how to roll out thin cookie dough to be very helpful. Basically, you roll it out between 2 pieces of parchment paper and then put it into the freezer until just before you are ready to use it. I had to get my dough ready faster than usual to accommodate Lily’s nap time so I skipped chilling the dough by just rolling it out using parchment and giving it a brief time (10-15 minutes) in the freezer. This method worked very well for me.
Brushing with egg white and decorating with nuts and sprinkles was undoubtedly the most fun part, except eating what you’ve baked.
I chose Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies, a recipe first published in Gourmet in 1947 and was called the “pride of the thrifty housewife”. The ingredients are very basic, relatively inexpensive and you can use local butter and eggs. These cookies keep for a long time and in my opinion, taste even better after a day or two in an airtight container. The recipe calls for sieved hard-cooked egg yolks as well as raw egg yolks. It sounded interesting enough to give it a try.
Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies
Put 3 hard-cooked egg yolks through a fine sieve.
Cream 1 lb sweet butter gradually adding 1 1/2 cups sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Alternately add 3 hard-cooked yolks with 3 raw yolks and 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour to the butter mixture.
Add the rind of 1 lemon or 2 t brandy.
Knead the mixture until it is thoroughly blended. Form several (I made 3 ) balls of smooth dough. Chill the dough several hours, then roll as thin as possible.
Cut with cookie cutters, brush lightly with slightly beaten egg white. Sprinkle the tops with chopped nuts mixed with sugar or other sprinkles. Place on a lightly floured cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until just starting to brown.
Don’t forget to add a few extra sprinkles for Santa.