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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pretzel Butter Cookies

The holidays are always such a busy time of year. Michael and I decided to upgrade the TV we've had for almost three years that was the size of many people's computer monitor (19"). We opted for a 32" TV which comparatively looks huge in our small living room. Still, I love it! No more squinting to see the scores on the football games and I've discovered that I can actually spot the pineapple on Psych since they've been hiding it better the past couple seasons.

We've also received some lovely gifts from family. My sister sent us a beautiful silver candleholder and candles (she knows what a sucker I am for great scented candles). My nephew and niece, Andy and Cameron sent us a great bottle of Hatteras Red wine from a local winery near their home in coastal North Carolina. Cameron also included some fabulous homemade gingerbread. My nephew Darron and his girlfriend sent us a lovely framed photo they had done recently.

So, as I've been trying to make some special treats for various events lately, I happened upon a great recipe in an old Betty Crocker cookbook. I've been looking for a nice butter cookie recipe that resembles the tinned cookies so often exchanged during the holiday season. This one comes very close. With a dash of almond flavor and lots of butter, this dough is delicate and crisp without being tough. The addition of coarse sugar on the outside really gives this a flavor and texture boost. I'd have to say this is fast becoming one of my favorite cookie doughs. It's not the easiest in the world to work because of the high butter content, but thoroughly chilled it won't give you too many problems. Just remember to take your time with it and don't leave it out as you're working in sections.

The traditional recipe calls for this to be rolled into ropes then formed into pretzel shapes. That works well but is pretty time consuming because you have to keep the dough very chilled or it tends to spread too much and become sticky when rolling with the hands. I found this also works well rolled out in sheets and then cut with round cookie cutters. Just make sure you roll this thicker than you would most doughs, though, or you lose its beautiful texture and it becomes too wafer-like. You could even use a small cookie scoop and use this as a small drop cookie. In short, it's a very versatile dough and you can adapt it to whatever your needs are.


Recipe: Pretzel Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Coarse sugar

Instructions

  1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix 1 cup of sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, almond extract and egg together. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Turn out onto large piece of plastic wrap and cover. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Divide one part into 12 pieces (refrigerate remaining dough). Sprinkle 1-2 tsp. of coarse sugar (either white or colored) onto board. Roll each piece of dough on sugared board into a rope about 10 inches long. Twist into pretzel shape and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until light golden brown - about 10-12 minutes.
Cook time: 12 min
Number of servings (yield): 24
Meal type: snack
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Copyright © Buck Bannister and Sugar Pies.
Recipe by Buck Bannister.


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