November 30, 2007

Night, night.

Years ago my friend Devon gave me a subscription to Gourmet Magazine. It was a very thoughtful gift and one that I thought would surely keep giving. But I never realized just how much! You've probably ascertained that I do enjoy my home magazines. But I have to say no magazine gets me going quite like Gourmet. From endlessly complicated recipes to easy-peasy 10-minute dishes I've yet to try out a dud. And the visuals and styling more than satisfy my aesthetic appetite. I mean the covers alone..."get out!"

But of all the things I've made this recipe is among my absolute favorite. I don't know if it's just the end product itself or the name along with it but "Off-to-bed Butter Cookies" are a delightful respite from the cold nights that are upon us (well for some of us). Truly extraordinary. They are at once refined and comforting; conjuring images of fireside reading with nibbles washed down by hot Earl Grey tea to being a kid in your pajamas with a hot chocolate moustache. Or better yet, why not make the best of both and add a bit of brandy to some hot chocolate (trust's spectacular) and dip yourself into wintertime bliss.

Enjoy! And have a great weekend.

"Off-to-bed Butter Cookies"
Makes about 4 dozen
Active time: 20 min
Start to Finish: 1 1/2 hour (Includes chilling dough)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw)
Special Equipment: parchment paper

*Stir together flour and salt in a bowl.

*Beat together butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing, and continue to mix until batter just comes together in clumps. Gather clumps to form a dough, then press dough with lightly floured hands into a smooth 1 1/4-inch-thick log on a very lightly floured work surface. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

*Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

*Cut chilled log crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange slices about 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets. Brush tops of cookies lightly with cream, then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.'

*Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets on racks.

Notes: Dough log can be chilled, wrapped well in plastic wrap, up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in plastic and foil, 1 month (thaw in refrigerator just until dough can be sliced). Cookies keep 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

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