Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cookie swap

I got invited to this cookie swap on Sunday, after I had already devised my bread-baking schedule for the week in order to meet our agreed Vintage Homes Society contribution. As I mentioned yesterday, I try to avoid scheduling multiple baking projects for the same day, because usually it doesn't end well. But obviously I was feeling invincible (I blame the sangria) when I said, "Sure, I'd love to come!" and thought, "I can slot a batch of cookies in there, nooooo problem."

::cue foreshadowing music of doom::

I was already planning on making these brown butter & sugar shortbread cookies, because the recipe is really simple, and the dough comes together in about 45 seconds, thanks to Archie. The only time-consuming part of it would be browning the butter, and I could do that ahead of time. Even tripling the recipe should be no problem, right? It's a 1-2-3 recipe, so just multiply everything by 3 and I'm good to go.

Yes. Except for the part where I forgot to double-check the master recipe and then mentally swapped around the proportions of butter and sugar. Which provided me with an unusably crumbly dough (since it had so little butter), until I poured in some milk to bring it all together.

The good news is, like most recipe screw-ups, they were still edible. (More than edible, actually: crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and festive with their red and green sugar on top. And they seem to have been well received, since I retrieved my box at the end of the night with about five cookies left in it.) They just were definitely not shortbread, that's all. Which would have been fine too, if not for the fact that I had already printed out the requested 15 copies of a recipe with "shortbread" in the title and had no time to it again.

Oh well. Let's hope no one remembers that discrepancy if and when they ever get around to cooking from those directions.

Brown butter & sugar Christmas cookies
Another 1-2-3 recipe, mauled nearly beyond recognition. Also a happy accident that I may just have to make again.

6 oz/180 g browned butter
12 oz/360 g brown sugar
pinch salt
2 tsp/10 g vanilla
18 oz/540 g all-purpose/plain flour
2-3 Tbsp/45 g milk
red & green sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix the first four ingredients in a food processor (or mixing method of your choice) until thoroughly combined, then add the flour in slowly. You will probably have a sandy, very crumbly dough; add milk with the food processor running until the dough comes together in a large ball.

You can bake this immediately, or shape into a log to slice and bake later. When ready to go in the oven, sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating tray(s) halfway through cooking time. When lightly brown around the edges, remove from oven and let cool on trays for 2-3 minutes before removing cookies to a rack to cool thoroughly.

Makes 36-40 cookies.

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