Ex Uno Plures

Out of one, many.
I’ve posted about butter cookies a few times now, but somehow I have managed to not share my personal recipe.
Upon request (sorry that it took so long!) I made some cookies to share with y’all.
Here’s the thing: this dough is so forgiving, so easy to work with and to remember, that it’s a real shame it’s taken me so long to post about.
It’s incredibly versatile and can be shaped into many different cookies 
(though one must be aware of baking times… My little meltaways that you see here were over baked and accordingly crunchy, which is not the most unpleasant thing in the world, but certainly not what I was going for… sigh.)
All of the ingredients are probably in your pantry, and if you have an oven and some sort of mixer and can count to 3 forwards and back, you can make some lovely cookies for yourself.
This recipe is my go-to when I’m making decorated cookies; it’s a great roll-out dough, but it can also be shaped into thumbprints or really whatever you’d like.
Flour, butter, sugar, egg, sea salt, vanilla.
3 cups, 2 sticks, 1 cup, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons, 3 splashes.
The cookies with the bicycles are just roll-out cookies with a stamped marshmallow fondant round affixed to them with royal icing.  (If you’d like to try these, I really recommend working with store bought fondant first, just to get the feel and texture of it right.  It can be a bit hard to work with, and making your own only adds to the difficulty.)
The streusel-topped cookies were inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s “jammers,” cookies of which I had only heard word and for which I had not seen a recipe.  
I improvised, and was rewarded with lovely little cookies-dressed-in-tarts’-clothing.  
(By improvise, I mean I made small depressions in the center of each cookie, filled them with jam, and topped them with this brown butter crumb.)
The meltaways are simply small balls of dough tossed in powdered sugar before and after baking.
The little stars sandwich a firm bittersweet chocolate ganache (3 parts bittersweet chocolate to 2 parts cream, with a pinch of salt, microwaved until 2/3 of the way melted, then stirred together until shiny and smooth.)
The thumbprints house a dollop of slow-cooked, sweet and salty confiture de lait: dulce de leche’s sultry French cousin.
I’m in love with these little green bicycles. They’re so… springy!
They make me so happy. 
 La la la loveee!
1-2-3 Cookies
3 cups of flour
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons kosher or other coarse salt
3 splashes vanilla extract
Beat butter and sugar together until softened and pale yellow.  
Add in the egg and beat until super fluffy and shiny and not gritty, about 3 minutes.
Add in the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 20 seconds.
Add in all the flour and stir slowly, mixing until a homogeneous dough forms.  
It should not be overly sticky, nor should it be very crumbly.
You can now form it into small balls to make into thumbprints or meltaways, or roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut it into shapes.
Refrigerate or, even better, freeze, for at least 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until golden and easily lifted from the sheet. Bake the thumbprints and meltaways for only 7 minutes. Better that they’re a little soft than super crunchy. Wah.
Decorate and/or fill as desired! (See above for some suggestions)

Je Te Kiffe

Ah, mes amours: je suis si content que vous êtes ici avec moi.

Vous savez que je vous adore bien.

Our nation’s most lovey-dovey holiday is right around the bend.  Now, I’m sure that many Valentine’s Day-bashing memes and rants will soon be populating the internet, but this post is not for that.
“Be mine”

I adore Valentine’s day; not because I celebrate it with anyone in particular or do anything special- I just love the idea.

A day to celebrate love.

We could all use a little lot more of that in our lives.

Valentine’s day is a day to rejoice and be grateful for all of the loving people you have in your life- it is a day to count your blessings and remind yourself of your gratitude for them.
(I love you, my dear readers, and I am ever grateful for you!)

Conversation hearts are iconic of elementary school valentine exchanges.  Personally, I hate them.  They don’t taste good; they’re not chocolate; they say weird things like “SEXY,” which are not appropriate for grade schoolers, etc.   Anyways, they’re just meh.
Oh! But look!
Here are some sweet little conversation heart cookies, written in French.  They have sugar AND butter, and are accordingly delicious, they say exactly what you want, and they’re cute to boot.

I made these with a simple sugar cookie dough, like here, here, or here (Ohmagah.  Those cookies.  I can’t even.  SO stinking perfect.  I hate love envy them so.), and frosted them with even simpler royal icing.  
I didn’t yet have my #1 tip, and my #4 was way too large (see the last photo in the series), so I had to write with a toothpick to get the right size.  It was a real headache, let me tell you.

I’m still trying to perfect my decorated cookies.  It’s becoming an obsession!
I love how beautiful they can be.  Mine are not there yet.  One day, though; one day.

Je vous kiffe, mes chéris!

To Share, To Care

First steps, words, teeth.
First loves and first heartbreaks.
First losses and griefs.
First snows, melts, blooms.
The sweetest first peaches and the crispest apples.
The first leaves and snowflakes to fall.
Everywhere you look, life is replete with novel experiences…
This was my first year participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!
I made decorated sugar cookies (for the first time), and they were funky fresh ugly not the most beautiful, but they were delicious- rich and reminiscent of the holidays.
The cookie swap benefits Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which helps fund pediatric cancer research.  It has inspired me to run two bake sales for the charity; it’s a great (and enjoyable) way to help others.
If you feel so inclined, you can send cookies to young cancer patients, or you can donate money or run bake sales and other events.
It is an incredibly satisfying and rewarding way to spend a little time; I highly recommend it.
I was sent wonderfully delicious cookies from three other talented blogger-bakers:
Ginger spice pumpkin thumbprint cookies from Marly of Ginger Foodie,
Chai-spiced gingerbread men from Rachael of Passing Daisies
And Earl Grey almond chocolate chip cookies from Leila and Nina of Cenabimus
They were all crazy yummy! Thank you so much! Be sure to click through to their sweet blogs.
I sent my cookies to three other bloggers:
Hannah (and Kate!) of Fleur DeLicious
 Lauren of SizzleEats
and Sara of Modern Alice
Go check their pages out too: deliciously creative things abound!
I am ever grateful to have had the chance to help fight pediatric cancer.  Cookies for Kids is a charity which I will be keeping up with, whether it be through another food blogger cookie swap or more bake sales.
Some random photovomit photographs:
Oh and also? I’m super thankful for the delicious cookies.  This was a truly fattening fun experience.

Classic Iced Butter Cookies

Yield: about 44 small sized cookies
From Cook’s Illustrated
12.5 ounces flour
5.5 ounces superfine sugar (whiz regular granulated sugar in a food processor for 30-45 seconds)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I would have increased this by a touch)
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cream cheese
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to resemble sand.  Add in the cream cheese and vanilla and mix until the dough begins to come together.  Remove from mixer and lightly knead a few times to bring dough together.  Pat into two disks and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, and up to 3 days.
Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Freeze dough for at least 20 minutes, or until very firm. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are barely turning golden.  Cool on a wire rack.
The decorator icing is from Bridget of Bake at 350, who makes just about the most perfect decorated cookies.
I increased the recipe by 1.5 and had plenty… In fact, I had way too much.  For this number of cookies, I think 1 batch of the recipe would do.  I tinted using Wilson gel colorings, which I prefer over regular food coloring for their potency.