Sunday, May 15, 2016

Danish Butter Cookies

I am sure you are familiar with the Danish butter cookies that come in the blue tin. At one time, I was happy with these little cookies. The tin does contain a variety, but I favored the plain ones.

My love of shortbread or butter cookies is not based on grocery store or the cookies that are mass produced and stuffed inside a cookie tin. It is based on my first homemade shortbread cookies. After taking one bite of the crunchy sweet and buttery morsels, I was hooked. I will no longer even consider the blue tin cookies. It is homemade butter cookies or none and I have no regrets.

While the recipe comes together easily, it is the piping that takes the longest and most effort. Since the dough is thicker than buttercream icing, it does take some muscle to pipe the logs out and then shape into a circle. If you do not want to go through that, an easier method is to use a star nozzle on a meat grinder or cookie press to form them.

In order to achieve the same results, do not substitute or skimp on quality ingredients. I used Kerrygold butter, Madagascar vanilla bean and Bob Mills almond meal.

The recipe below contains weight measurements as well as cup measurements. I used a scale to measure my ingredients to be more exact, however, both measurements were on the original recipe. The measurements below make about 3-3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Danish Butter Cookies
adapted from Nordic Food Living 

7 oz or 3/4 cup plus 1 tbs butter
1 egg
1 vanilla bean
6 oz or 3/4 cup sugar
9 oz or 1 3/4 cup flour
3 oz or 1/2 cup almond meal or 1/2 cup almonds ground into meal

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Add the sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Take out the vanilla bean and slice open the length of the bean. Open the bean flat and take a paring knife and scrape down the inside of the bean and place the scrapings or seeds into the bowl with the sugar. Continue to scrape until all seeds have been removed and add all to the sugar. Using clean hands, separate the clumps of seeds in the sugar by grinding the sugar together with the seeds.

Once the seeds are evenly distributed into the sugar, add the butter. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides at intervals. Then add the egg and beat for about 30 seconds.

Remove bowl from stand mixer. Using a wooden spoon, fold the almond flour into the batter. Then add 1/2 cup of the regular flour and fold in. Continue with the process, ending with 1/4 cup flour.

Prepare the piping equipment and fill with cookie dough. Press the dough out of the piping mechanism into a 1 1/2- 2 inch circle or 1 1/2-2 inch long log onto the parchment paper. If making logs, shape each into a circle on the cookie sheet. Per the recipe, the dough circles on the sheet should be 1 1/2 inches apart. However, the cookies do not spread or expand much, so 1 inch should suffice.

Place baking sheets in the oven and bake the cookies for 4 minutes and then rotate pan. Bake for another 2-4 minutes or until the cookies have golden edges. Place baking sheet on rack and let cookies rest for about 1 minute, then transfer to rack and let cool completely.

Tips and notes:

1. How toasty you want these cookies to be is up to you, so please adjust your baking time accordingly.
2. Should these cookies be "too" plain, try dipping half in chocolate or sandwiching together with chocolate.
3. For a stronger vanilla taste, infuse the sugar with the seeds a few days prior to baking.
                                           **LAST YEAR: Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies**