I never thought I would like a butter cookie, after all.. there's no brown sugar or chocolate. 6 cookies later, I realized that I've just never had a good butter cookie, one that is flaky and melt in your mouth. These were absolutely amazing!! I still can't believe I had 6, but I had to.. for 'testing purposes'. 1 extra minute in the oven can make a difference in texture or dryness so I baked at 10, 11 and 12 minutes to see if there would be any. Cookies straight out of the oven and completely cool also differ texturally. It's the texture of a completely cool cookie that actually matters, since cookies don't stay warm forever (if only!). So in the end, I had no choice but to eat 3 straight from the oven at 10, 11, 12 mins and 3 completely cool at each of those time points. 12 minutes was perfect in my oven because the edges were crisp, but at 10 minutes, there was a more melt in your mouth centre.
As enjoyable as these were in the moment, I suffered from major butter overload. After my little cookie splurge, I was craving broccoli and tomatoes! I can't help it, but everytime I try a new recipe I want to find the best possible version. I've had to force myself to accept that airbake pans are the best (although most people don't like them) because there are only so many test cookies I can eat! I find that they're better than jelly rolls because every single batch of cookies I bake on a jelly roll turns out dry with burnt bottoms yet a raw top, but it could be my particular jelly roll pan. Maybe it's time I get a Goldtouch one from William Sonoma. The Goldtouch pans are actually made by Chicago Metallic, which I love because cakes seems to bake up more evenly and leveled. If only it wasn't so difficult to find them and Amazon actually shipped to Canada.
I don't think I would've tried these if it wasn't for the piping part. Piping out cookie dough makes me feel all professional.. haha. It was a lot harder to squeeze the dough out of the bag than I anticipated. I better not wake up with arm pains tomorrow! I think it's time to add a cookie press to the baking gadget collection. I'm making these again tomorrow for Christmas in the almond variation, but other than that I still haven't decided what else to bake yet.. there are just way too many yummy desserts!
Makes about 6 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened (about 70 degrees)
2/3 cup sugar (about 4-3/4 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. In small bowl, beat yolk, cream, and vanilla with fork until combined; set aside.
2. In standing mixer, cream butter, sugar, and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer running at medium speed, add yolk/cream mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. With mixer running at low speed, gradually beat in flour until combined. Scrape down bowl and give final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain.
3. If using cookie press to form cookies, follow manufacturer's instructions to fill press; if using pastry bag, follow illustrations 1 through 3 below to fill bag. Press or pipe cookies onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1-1/2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on baking sheet until just warm, 10 to 15 minutes; using metal spatula, transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature.
almond variation: Grind 1/2 cup sliced almonds and 2 tablespoons flour called for in the spritz recipe until powdery and evenly fine; combine almond mixture with remaining flour. Follow recipe for spritz, substituting 3/4 teaspoon almond extract for vanilla.
lemon variation: add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to yolk/cream mixture in step 1 and add 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest to butter along with sugar and salt in step 2.