We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cookie Recipe #212 - Sables with Caramel Glaze

This is a buttery French cookie topped with a caramel glaze before baking.

Ingredients: 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, pinch of salt, 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and diced, 3 egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 egg yolk, for glazing, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons water, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 cup water.

Instructions: First make the caramel syrup as follows: put the granulated sugar, 4 teaspoons water, and lemon juice into a small saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir until no longer cloudy. Boil until bubbly and allow to become a rich golden brown. Once this color, remove the pan immediately from the heat and plunge the base of the pan into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Carefully stir in the 1/4 cup water. Set the caramel syrup aside to cool completely. (If caramel does not dissolve evenly when the water is added, place the pan over a low heat and stir until it is completely dissolved).

For cookies, place the flour, salt, confectioners' sugar, and butter iinto a food processor and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (or use your fingers). Add the egg yolks and vanilla and blend until the mixture just begins to come together as a firm dough (may take about 30 seconds). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, then chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Stamp out rounds with a 3-inch fluted biscuit cutter (or desired shape). Arrange on prepared baking sheets. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of the caramel glaze. Use this to brush the tops of each cookie sparingly. Allow to dry then apply a second coat of glaze. Using a fork, prick the cookies a couple of times, then drag the tines of the fork over the glaze to form a crisscross design.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Serve leftover glaze with cookies (for dipping) or use to flavor a fruit salad.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

"The Cookie and Biscuit Bible", Hermes House, London, 2010.

Cookies Rule!!!

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