Monday, June 9, 2008

Brittany (as in France) Butter Cookies


I have this ghetto cookie cookbook that materialized in my collection. I have no idea where is came from, and it certainly isn't one I would make a point in purchasing. It is simply titled "Cookies", and is one of a series of books from The Cook's Encyclopedia. I was dusting my bookshelf today (yes! DUSTING. I was shocked too.) when I stumbled upon it. I started flipping through the book and came to the decision that it was a piece of crap and it needed to be donated. Then I saw Brittany Butter Cookies.


My name is Brittany and I like butter. I am also ardent supporter of cookies. I put down my dust rag and took off the protective bandana wrapped around my face like a gas mask (yeah, it's been that long since I last dusted) and wondered into the kitchen to bake these.

side note- as I type this post, it is 50 degrees and pouring down rain. I need cookies to counteract the seasonal depression that is rapidly setting in. Any one thinking of moving to Seattle should keep that in mind.

This is a really simple recipe for what turned out to be a beautiful little cookie. Similar to shortbread, but much richer- and a great canvas for showing off a good quality European butter. Sadly, all I had was plugra, a butter that is made in the US (Wisconsin, I believe), but snootily parades around like Euro butter. The "Madonna" of butter, if you will. If you have a kick ass Normandy or Irish butter sitting around I suggest you put it to work and make these. They're especially good with a dollop of jam and a cup of tea.

And such a breathtakingly beautiful name.

Butter. Sweet, glorious butter.

Brittany Butter Cookies
adapted from The Cook's Encyclopedia of Cookies
makes about 18 cookies
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tb milk
1 cup + 2 Tb all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 oz butter*
healthy pinch of kosher salt (my addition)

*recipe did not state the temperature of the butter. I suggest cold from the refrigerator, but sightly softened (let stand at room temp, cut into cubes for 10 minutes or so)

Mix about 1/2 Tb of the egg yolks with the milk in a small bowl to make a glaze. Set aside.

Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl. Add the salt and mix together with a whisk. Add the egg yolks and butter (in the center of the bowl) and work the two together with your hand until it becomes creamy.
Gradually bring the flour into the middle of the bowl until it all forms a slightly sticky dough*

*This takes a while and I don't see why it couldn't be done in the food processor. But these are "folksy cookies"- enjoy the zenfulness of kneading.*
Achieve baking nirvana. Get up in there and knead

Stop kneading when you have a lovely yellow blob like this.

Using floured hands, pat out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick** and cut out using a
2-1/2 inch cutter.

Transfer to parchment lined sheet pans and brush each cookie with the egg-milk glaze. Using a steak knife (or whatever), score to create a lattice pattern.

**They're really taking the whole rustic farm cookie thing a step too far with this. The cookies will turn out much better if you behave like upright man and use a rolling pin**

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes (Mine took 17 minutes. but I despise under baked, anemic looking, shithole pastries).
with last year's strawberry freezer jam. The odds of my being able to make a batch this year diminish one blustery day after another.

Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy on their own. Or if you are living in an area that summer forgot about, have some tea and jam as well.

Percy got into some butter and is now wondering why the fuck he has to eat kibble while humans lavishly smear everything with this delicacy.


Emiline said...

Cute cat!

These cookies were meant for you. They look really good. I want some kick ass butter. All we have is Plugra. Usually I just buy whatever butter is cheapest. :(

I noticed you like Elvis Costello, Neil Young, David Bowie and a few other artists that I like. That's awesome. I got to see Bob Dylan a few years ago...amazing!

Heather said...

Pretty pretty pretty! It's prolly considered cheating by the likes of you pastry-types, but I use my Cuisinart to make my dough. It cuts the butter perfectly, and never overworks the dough. It's how my biscuits stay so fluffy! If I had to revert back to the old pre-appliance days, I'd have tough biscuits and forget about cookies.

matt wright said...

I LOVE shorbread, so this I am sure is fantastic.

From now on I am always going to call Plugra "the Madonna of Butters". All this "european style" stuff pisses me off! Sounds like a marketting scam to me... I can hardly talk though, I just use Organic Valley butter.. which I actually kinda like for regular cooking.

This is something that I might even someday attempt.. and I am pastry making impaired.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Those really do sound quite nummy Brittany! I love your kitty cat too! You are so funny about the butter, but your point is good and well taken!

Norm Schoen said...

Brittany-The cookies look awesome! You are my "dessert blog" hero!Growing up all my Mother would buy was Margarine. I swore that I would only buy butter after I left home (mission accomplished).

Brittany said...

Em- I felt like they were calling out to me.
Clearly, we both have excellent taste in music. I saw Bob Dylan twice- once many, years ago and the entire experience was amazing. then again about 3 years ago and the whole thing was a total bust (long story- Bob still rocked the house, being that he is old as fuck).

Heather- Fuck no thats not cheating! I plan to use mine next time I make these. Sheesh, I still have butter and egg yolks under my nails.

Matt- I felt quite British while muching on these with tea and jam. Even if they were made with wannabe butter.

Jenn- Percy, the prep cook as I like to call him. His sister, Stanzie just sits in the corner and supervises (a "chef exec"), but he likes getting in on the action.

Norm- Yay! That is so awesome to hear from my wine hero!
I would like to take this moment to thank my parents for never jumping on the margarine bandwagon. While I was brought up on fat free milk and diet coke, real butter was always there for us.

Brittany said...

"The "Madonna" of butter, if you will."

I think this is the funniest line ever typed. ever. I literally peed a little on that one.

And thanks for naming such a sexy cookie after us!

cook eat FRET said...

the madonna of butter
i totally cracked up...

Sophie said...

These came out really pretty, I like how dainty they look :).

peter said...

My Grandmother used to make something like these, but with a dimple from her thumb that she would fill with jam post-baking.

Also, it's hot and sunny here and our strawberries are going crazy.

Have you tried the Vermont cultured butter? Drool.

Cakespy said...

That butter pic is super sexy, as are the cookies. Oh my!

And as for Cupcake art--I must have been at that opening right after you: adored it!!

J.Danger said...

I cannot WAIT to eat these!


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Namesake cookies? How cool is that? And speaking of cool... I love the shot of the butter.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting for me to read that post. Thanks the author for it. I like such themes and everything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Thanks Norm!