This is for all of my fellow students out there! As a precursor to finishing my last week of classes this semester, I decided to make some delicious cookies for classmates (teammates, y’all!) and professors. I invited two girlfriends from Denver to assist in my self-proclaimed Cookie Festival. The menu consisted of the following: sugar cookies from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook, snowballs, chocolate-covered peanut butter balls, snickerdoodles, and Mimi’s icebox cookies. Except for Mimi’s cookies, everything went off smashingly. I made my grandmother’s cookies not once but twice and botched them both times…down the sink they went! However, I think I figured out the problem and will give it a third try in the very near future (and of course post the recipe and photos).
In the meantime, here are some photos and recipes for the cookies that managed to stay out of the sink starting with the sugar cookies:
Thomas Keller’s Sugar Cookies (Biscuits Au Sucre)
Makes around 36 small cookies
- 8 tablesppons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
The cookie dough can be made in a standard mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer. Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a paring knife, and add the seeds to the bowl, and mix until combined. Continue to add flour until the dough comes together in a smooth mass and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour to firm up slightly.
Dust a pastry board with flour. Halve the dough and roll each piece into a log 6 1/2 to 7 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice. (Hint: The dough can be frozen up to a month).
Put a rack in the center of the over and preheat the over to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If the logs have been frozen, let them stand at room temperature until soft enough to cut without crumbling.
Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut each log into 16 to 18 slices about 3/8 inch thick. Coat each slice with the cinnamon sugar and place on the baking sheets. Bake, in two batches, for about 20 minutes, or until light golden. Transfer to racks to cool. Store in airtight container.
Next we made some snowballs…
Adapted from the Wilton Cookie Exchange cookbook. Makes around 90 balls
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (about 8 oz) ground almonds
- Some confectioners sugar
Preheat over to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Add flour and almonds, mix with electric mixer on low speed until dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place them 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Remove to cooling grid, and cool for 5 minutes. Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar, and cool completely.
Some chocolate-covered peanut butter balls…
Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine (1991) makes around 36-40 balls
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- a 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
In a bowl stir together the brown sugar, 1/2 stick of the butter, the graham cracker crumbs, and the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth and chill the mixture, covered, for 1 hour, or until it is firm enough to form into balls. Form teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and transfer the balls as they are formed to a baking sheet lined with wax paper. In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the chocolate chips with the remaining 3/4 stick butter (BTW, I found I had to add more butter in order to make the chocolate loose enough to cover the balls), stirring until the mixture is smooth, and let the chocolate mixture cool. Dip the balls into the chocolate mixture with a fork, coating them well and letting the excess drip off, transfer them as they are coated to the baking sheet, and chill them, covered loosely, for at least 1 hour or overnight. (The balls may be double-dipped if desired.)
And finally, snickerdoodles (before baking and after)
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes three dozen 3 to 4-inch cookies. Your mileage will vary by the size scoop you use.
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 stick or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
- 2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400°, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine. At this point, I chilled the dough for an hour (or you can overnight) before scooping it, because I otherwise found it too difficult to scoop into balls and roll but the original recipe doesn’t find this step neccessary.
Once dough has chilled, in a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small ice-cream scoop* to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after five minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about five minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. In theory, they can be stored in an airtight container up to one week, but I say good luck wtih that.
* Martha recommends a size 30 (1 1/4 ounce) ice cream scoop but I used a size 40 (3/4 ounce) and they came out 3 to 4 inches across, or plenty huge.