Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Countdown: Still Time for Cookies

I have been sorely absent form this blog - again. I will try and make it up to you with a spurt of a Christmas Countdown - I know I have only five days to go (we celebrate Christmas Eve here in Denmark, so I'm counting down to the 24th., in case you thought I got the days mixed up), but at least it's something. Next year, I'll be better. Early with the New Year's resolutions, aren't I?

As we have done the past three years, this Sunday, the third Sunday in advent, was Julestue chez nous. Cookies were baked, both the traditional vaniliekranse and klejner, but for once I managed to make some of the ones I'd bookmarked during December as well. I always make many plans to try something new, only I never succeed - the days just seem so short in December, don't they?
I bookmarked these Brown-Sugar Brown-Butter Shorties from both Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet - did you by the way have a look at their extravagant spread of cookies from the decades? You must! The cookies were a BIG hit, especially with my older Sister. They look like your average butter cookie but there's no doubt the browned butter changes everything and makes these so much more than that. Plus, they're easy to make and you can make them well in advance and just have the logs waiting in the fridge (or freezer, I suppose) for when the craving hits.

Here's the recipe, with a couple of my notes and weight measures instead of cups - that's how we roll here, you know. Sis - bake your heart out!

Brown-Sugar Brown-Butter Shorties
- from Gourmet

175 g. unsalted butter
100 g. cup packed brown sugar (I used light muscovado sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
200 g. cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Demerara sugar for the edge of the cookies

Place the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it has a nutty fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the butter to a bowl and chill. It should firm up. I browned the butter a whole day in advance, and just left it in the fridge. I took it out about an hour before wanting to procede with the dough.

Beat together butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, then mix in flour and salt at low speed until just combined. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper or parchment and form into logs, 4-5 cm. in diameter. Roll the logs in demerara sugar, making sure the sugar sticks to the sides in as thick a layer as possible.

Chill, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, about 1 hour, or up to one week.

Preheat oven to 170°C. Slice dough into 1 centimeter-thick rounds, arranging 5 cm. apart on an ungreased, lined baking sheet. Bake until surface is dry and edges are slightly darker, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.


Heather said...

Oh God, the Gourmet spread is practically making me panic. (*Breathe, breathe, there will always be enough time for all of the cookies*}

Ahem. Merry Holidays, wishing you calm baking and lots of good eats.


Jeanne said...

Until you've tasted browned buttter, you have no idea what all the fuss is about. And then you taste it and your world changes forever!! Love the sound of these - I'm woefully behind with my Christmas baking but have plans to do some this weekend...

tina said...

Thanks for the recipe Zarah. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and love your pictures. So "artsy" ;) I will definitely try these this weekend even though I was going to bake as little as possible this year. Happy Holidays to you and your family.


Zarah Maria said...

Heather - that's how I felt when I first saw it. Must. Try. ALL! And then I snapped back to reality. I tried three different kinds this year, and bookmarked about two dozen others. Next year, right?

Jeanne - I agree. I'm still not sure I've gotten the browning technique all down - I get nervous once it starts foaming and turning darker - but I'm getting there. And it's only getting better. Nevermind baking these for Christmas - you can bake them any time :)

Tina - thank you, and thanks for stopping by:) This is hardly baking. More of assembly. And cutting. So just you go ahead :) A Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

Elise said...

i love your blog!!!!!
i'm going to keep reading. i'm fairly new to blog world:

Anonymous said...

Hey ! so nice, delicious and dlightful cookies you put on your blog....i really love to cookies....great blog...

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