(shortbread fresh out of the oven!)
Today is Christmas Eve, and my family usually gets together to have dinner and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. I decided to make cookies this year because I've never made anything for the family get togethers and I thought it would be a nice treat.
First up was Scottish Shortbread using this recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't let the butter reach room temperature. I thought I had, but it was still a bit on the cold side, so the dough was very dry and crumbly. About a quarter of a cup of water fixed that. I also made have spread it out in the pans a little too thick, because it was still a bit on the doughy side - but amazingly awesome!
Next was Russian Tea Cakes. Apparently my Grandma used to make these, or something VERY similar, back in the day. The recipe is pretty easy and straight forward, though the powdered sugar can get a bit messy. I also recommend using a mortar and pestle to crush the nuts into tinier bits instead of chopping them.
Finally I made a batch of brown butter and sea salt cookies (aka crack cookies). These are a bit harder to make because you have to brown the butter. Prior to making these cookies I had never browned butter before, and there is a window of only a few seconds where the butter is properly browned. If you take it off too early, it smells nutty, but is only clarified butter. If you leave it on too long, it becomes burnt. The clarified butter still does the job. I dunno if burnt butter will because I'm usually paranoid and pull off the butter way early. Today I managed to time it JUST right and the butter was properly browned.
The recipe also says to just sprinkle sea salt on the top, but I've never had luck with the sea salt staying on the cookie that way, so I recommend rolling the cookie dough into a ball and then pressing it into or rolling it across a bowl or plate of sea salt.
From my husband and I to you and yours: Merry Christmas!