Sunday, February 13, 2011

Michael's Valentines Day Butter Cookies

My friend Michael spent last night making heart cookies and sent me this picture.

Home made cookie are a great expression of love, really any home made baked good is going to touch the heart of the one you love more than any store bought confection.  The great thing about butter cookies is that they are very versatile, you can color, shape, ice, sprinkle or flavor them in any number of ways, making them a great personalized expression of your love.

Here's a good basic recipe to start with.

Butter Cookies

In a large bowl cream together 1 cup of room temperature unsalted butter and 2/3 cup sugar.

Add 1 large room temperature egg, and 2 teaspoons of half and half (whole milk or cream both good substitutes), 1 teaspoon Vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt.   Stirring until the dough just comes together.  

Finally stir in 2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour.

I like to use parchment paper to roll by dough between as it eliminates the need for flour.  Divide the dough into 2 balls and press them between two sheets of parchment paper.  Roll them out so that they can fit onto a cookie sheet,  They can be as thick or thin as you like just try and make the thickness consistent.  Place the rolled out dough onto a cookie sheet (you can stack them) and refrigerate for at least an hour 2 or 3 if you have the time.  

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Remove the chilled dough and one sheet at a time take off the top sheet of parchment and cut the cookies into the desired shape.  Using a metal spatula or flipper the the cookies onto a cookie sheet that is either lightly buttered or covered in parchment.  If you want to sprinkle this would be the time to do it.  These can be frosted after they are baked and cooled.  You could switch out vanilla extract and use Almond and replace 1/2 cup flour with ground almonds, or use ground pecans and bourbon, or add citrus peel into the dough or add spices like clove, cinnamon, allspice and cinnamon and sprinkle with sugar.  Or if you are not interested in all the fuss of rolling and cutting cookies you can just roll the dough into logs (2 or 3) chill and cut into disks.  My favorite if you are making disc cookies is to add 2 or 3 tablespoons of crystallized ginger to the dough and then maybe when they have been cooked and cooled you could dip one end of the cookie into melted dark chocolate.  The options are endless.

Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until they have turn a nice shade of golden.

Thank you Michael for this Valentine's Day inspiration!

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