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This recipe is part of Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies.

Basic Butter Cookies

Butter Cookies

Aside from sugar cookies and shortbread, there's probably a no more simple cookie than a butter cookie. But like those other two cookies, there are few recipes that rely more on quality ingredients than the butter cookie. Because it has so few ingredients, you can taste practically every one of them when you take a bit of this crisp, clean wafer.

Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies formula for butter cookies offers a few variations on the original, including a straight substitution of brown sugar for granulated white sugar. Baked, these cookies take on a deep butterscotch flavor.

A few notes about this recipe:

  • 1 c AP flour = 5 oz because I didn't want the cookies to spread
  • The recipe calls for baking 12 to 14 minutes, but this was a little too long for cookies rolled to 1/8" thick. They were best at about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • I substituted light brown sugar for granulated, but I imagine dark brown sugar would lend a smokier flavor still.


Basic Butter Cookies
16 T unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1+1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c AP flour

Equipment
2 cookie sheets, ungreased

  1. With the back of a large spoon in a medium mixing bowl or with a mixer, beat the butter with the sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute with the mixer. 
  2. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
  3. Scrape the dough into a mass and knead it with your hands a few times just until smooth.
  4. For slice-and-bake cookies, form a 12 X 2-inch log. For rolled and cut cookies, form 2 flat patties. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. The dough may be frozen for up to 3 months.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  6. To slice and bake cookies, use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough log into slices 1/4" thick. Place cookies at least 1+1/2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
    To roll and cut cookies, remove 1 patty from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature until supple enough to roll but still quite firm. It will continue to soften as you work.
  7. Roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper or between heavy plastic sheets from a plastic bag to the thickness of 1/4" inch. Turn the dough over once or twice while you are rolling it out to check for deep wrinkles; if necessary, peel off and smooth the paper or plastic over the dough before continuing to roll it. When the dough is thin enough, peel off the top sheet of paper or plastic and keep it in front of you. Invert the dough onto that sheet and peel off the second sheet.
  8. Cut cookie shapes as close together as possible to minimize scraps, dipping the edges of the cookie cutters in flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Use the point of a pairing knife to lift and remove scraps as you transfer cookies to cookie sheets.
  9. Place cookies at least 1+1/2" apart on cookie sheets. 
  10. If dough gets too soft at any time - while rolling, cutting, removing scraps between cookies, or transferring cookies - slide a cookie sheet underneath the paper or plastic and refrigerate the dough for a few minutes until firm. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
  11. Press all of the dough scraps together gently (don't overwork them with too much kneading) and reroll.
  12. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light golden brown at the edges, rotatig the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Repeat until all the cookies are baked.
  13. Let cookies firm up on the pan for about 1 minute before transferring them to a rack with a metal pancake turner.
  14. Cool completely before stacking or storing. Cookies are delicious fresh but even better the next day.

Yield
Makes about 48 2-inch cookies

Storage
May be stored airtight, for at least 1 month

Source
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author

Basic Butter Cookies on Foodista

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Chili not worth a hill of beans

Thanks for sharing your travails -- it gives us amateurs hope!

The holidays recently inspired me to venture into the kitchen pantry and try some good family recipes, and a record cold front translated into the idea to make a wonderful pot of homemade chili. From scratch. So, armed with a plethora of ingredients, I followed the 'rapid soak' instructions on the bag of red beans, and I chopped, sauteed, and seasoned until wonderful smells filled the air. Then I dumped everything into a large slow cooker that seems to boil everything that goes into it and waited. And waited and waited.

Once I realized that wasn't going to work, I put everything into a large pot on the stove and set it at a medium high. Then I stirred and waited. And waited, and stirred and waited. The next day, I put it back on the stove on a high temperature setting, and then I stirred and waited. And waited and stirred. Repeat the NEXT day -- yes that is day three.

Much to my dismay, the beans never cooked, because I had failed to boil them before adding the other ingredients. The sad part of my tale of woe is that I have a fleeting suspicion I made this same tactical error 25 years ago, which is probably why I have always made chili using canned beans. So, I'm going back to canned beans this week and start over with a new pot of chili.

Next week, I think I'll try some ham hocks and beans from scratch. Maybe not...

Beans

I recently invested in a Cuisinart bench top pressure cooker, wow it cooks beans from scratch in about 20 mins. Anything that needs long, slow cooking cooks really quickly and is way more tender and flavourful. Check out Amazon for other people's raves about them and the cookbook Pressure Perfect for tips and suggestions. I've been cooking so many things in it and they all taste delicious.

Chili not worth a hill of beans

Thanks for sharing your travails -- it gives us amateurs hope!

The holidays recently inspired me to venture into the kitchen pantry and try some good old recipes from scratch, and a record cold front translated into the idea to make a wonderful pot of homemade chili. From scratch. So, armed with a plethora of ingredients, I followed the 'rapid soak' instructions on the bag of red beans, and I chopped, sauteed, and seasoned until wonderful smells filled the air. Then I dumped everything into a large slow cooker that seems to boil everything that goes into it and waited. And waited and waited.

Once I realized that wasn't going to work, I put everything into a large pot on the stove and set it at a medium high. Then I stirred and waited. And waited, and stirred and waited. The next day, I put it back on the stove on a high temperature setting, and then I stirred and waited. And waited and stirred. Repeat the NEXT day -- yes that is day three.

Much to my dismay, the beans never cooked, because I had failed to boil them before adding the other ingredients. The sad part of my tale of woe is that I have a fleeting suspicion I made this same tactical error 25 years ago, which is probably why I have always made chili using canned beans. So, I'm going back to canned beans this week and start over with a new pot of chili.

Next week, I think I'll try some ham hocks and beans from scratch. Maybe not...