The Perfect Holiday Cookie
Make this yummy treat in minutes!
-Nancy Byal and Jan Turner Hazard
The foodies who are better known as the Gadget Gals, Nancy Byal and Jan Turner Hazard, test kitchenware and appliances on their website, www.kitchengadgetgals.com. This season, they’re going beyond equipment and publishing The Gadget Gals’ Holiday Cookie Cookbook, an e-book of twenty recipes that will wow friends and family. (The book can be ordered at www.kitchengadgetgals.com for $4.95 through PayPal.) Here’s one of their favorite recipes:
Browned Butter Sugar Cookies
Believe us, taking the time to brown the butter is worth the effort. It takes one of the best-loved cookies of all times to a new, magically rich flavor level. We used different-sized star cutters, but use any holiday shapes you like.-Nan and Jan
Small and large skillets
Electric mixer and bowl
Baking mat and rolling pin
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (not sifted)
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Browned Butter Icing (instructions below)
Sparkling decorator’s sugar (optional)
1. In a 10-inch skillet, melt 12 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Continue heating butter, swirling pan constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until butter is a dark gold brown. Remove from heat. Pour browned butter into mixer bowl; add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and stir to melt. Let stand 15 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. Add sugar to butter in mixer bowl; beat on low speed until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until mixture is well combined. Add flour mixture; beat until combined.
4. Divide dough in half; wrap and chill 15 to 30 minutes until dough is cool and still pliable. Do not overchill.
5. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll half the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters, rerolling dough as needed. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheets to wire rack; cool thoroughly.
6. Frost with Browned Butter Icing and sprinkle with sparkling sugar if desired (we used white and pink). Let dry on wire racks. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
To make Browned Butter Icing: Place 2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar in a mixing bowl. In a small skillet melt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium-high heat; continue to cook, swirling pan constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until a dark golden brown. Do not overbrown. Remove from heat. Pour butter into bowl of sugar; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons water to make a thin icing. Use icing immediately; stir occasionally to keep icing from forming a skin on top. If icing thickens while frosting cookies, heat icing in microwave for about 10 seconds, then stir.
GadgetGals Tip: A skillet with a light-colored interior is preferable for browning the butter so you can judge when the color is a dark golden brown. Once the butter starts to brown, the color changes quickly, so watch it carefully to avoid burning. Remove the skillet from the heat as soon as the butter reaches the desired color, since it will continue to cook slightly.