Every week, Yahoo Food spotlights a cookbook that stands out from the rest. This week’s cookbook is The Art of the Cookie: Baking Up Inspiration by the Dozen by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen), a cooking teacher, food stylist, and cookbook author specializing in sweets. Read more about Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week here.
Photograph by Maren Caruso
Makes about 24 cookies
These crisp cookies are delicious on their own. You can also fill the rolled cookies by piping Vanilla Cream Filling (see below) into them; refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.
3⁄4 cup (4 oz/125 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup (4 oz/125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup (4 oz/125 g) plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large egg whites
3⁄4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Gel-paste food coloring in shades of red and brown
4 pastry bags with 1⁄8-inch (3-mm) round tips; small offset spatula; chopstick
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add the egg whites and peppermint extract and beat on low speed until the egg is completely incorporated. Beating on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and continue to beat until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Place 2 tablespoons of the dough into each of 4 small bowls. Color each a different shade of red, starting with pale pink and ending with dark burgundy. To make burgundy, use the tip of a toothpick to add a tiny bit of brown to deep red. Spoon the doughs into separate pastry bags, each with a 1⁄8-inch (3-mm) round tip. Refrigerate the dough until chilled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. To form each cookie, use a small offset spatula to spread 2 teaspoons of the uncolored dough on the prepared sheets into a 3 1⁄2-by-4 1⁄2-inch (9-by-11.5-cm) rectangle about 1⁄8 inch thick. Pipe a diagonal line of red dough over the rectangle from one side to the opposite side. Continue to pipe lines, using different colors of red and varying the width of the lines. Space the lines 3⁄4 inch (2 cm) apart.
Bake until the edges are firm to the touch but have not yet taken on any golden color, 15–17 minutes. Immediately use a metal spatula to remove each cookie from the sheets and invert it onto a work surface. Roll the cookie around a chopstick, then remove the chopstick. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely, about 15 minutes. If the cookies become too cool and fragile, return them to the oven for 1 minute to soften. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Vanilla Cream Filling
Makes about 11⁄2 cups (12 fl oz/375 ml)
3⁄4 cup (6 oz/185 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 cup (8 oz/250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
11⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Sift the sugar into a large bowl and add the butter. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed just until combined.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Dark Chocolate Variation
In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, heat 3 ounces (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, stirring frequently, until completely melted, about 4 minutes; set aside to cool completely. Add the chocolate to the beaten butter and sugar mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Omit the vanilla extract and add 1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) strained raspberry preserves. If desired, add a small drop of red food coloring.
Reprinted with permission from The Art of the Cookie: Baking Up Inspiration by the Dozen by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen).
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