Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies
Makes about 12 dozen cookies
- 3 hard-cooked yolks
- 1 pound (2 cups) sweet butter
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 cups sifted flour
- 3 raw yolks
- 1/2 lemon rind or 2 teaspoons brandy
- 1 egg white (slightly beaten)
- 1 cup branched almonds or walnuts
1. Put 3 hard-cooked yolks through a fine sieve. Cream 1 pound (2 cups) sweet butter and gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, stirring constantly until light and fluffy. Add the 3 strained yolks alternately with 6 cups sifted flour and 3 raw yolks. Knead the mixture with your hands until thoroughly blended, or until the dough is smooth and easily handled. Add the rind of 1/2 lemon or 2 teaspoons brandy and continue kneading.
2. Chill the dough several hours, then roll as thin as possible. Cut it with cookie cutters in as many fancy shapes as desired. Brush each cookie very evenly with slightly beaten white of egg. Sprinkle the tops with a mixture of 1 cup each sugar and blanched almonds or walnuts, coarsely chopped. Place them on a slightly floured cookie sheet and bake in a moderate oven (350°F) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until delicately brown, removing each cookie as it is ready.
- To hard-cook eggs, put them in a saucepan with cold water to cover, partially cover pan, and bring the water to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook the eggs for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let stand in the water, covered, for 15 minutes, then run under cold water for about 5 minutes.
- The butter should be softened before beating (creaming).
- Use grated lemon zest (without any of the bitter white pith).
- Roll out the dough to a 1/16-inch thickness.
- Instead of flouring the sheets, line them with parchment paper.
Excerpted from The Gourmet Cookie Book. Copyright © 2010 by Conde Nast Publications. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.