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If you want to enter into a sweet world, free of politics and strife, acclaimed cookbook author and baking guru Dorie Greenspan has the book for you.
Her new book is 170 pages of cookie lore and recipes for every kind of cookie imaginable — from almond crackles to Greek honey dainties to the famous world peace cookies to snowy-topped brownie drops and many more, for the holiday season and beyond.
Here are three sneak-preview recipes from Greenspan's book.
Yield: Makes about 30 cookies
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (or spray) the molds of a regular-size muffin tin (or choose nonstick) – if you’ve got two tins, use both of them – and have a 2-inch cookie cutter at hand.
Working with one sheet of dough at a time, peel away both sheets of parchment paper (it’s hard to cut the dough otherwise); put the dough back on one sheet. Cut the dough and drop the rounds into the muffin tin. (Save the scraps, combine, gather them together, re-roll, chill and cut.) Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t completely fill the molds, it will once it’s baked.
Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon jam in the center of each cookie. Spoon or sprinkle streusel around the edges of each cookie – you want to cover the surface, but to leave the jam bare.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, turning the tin after 11 minutes, or until the streusel and the edges of the cookies are golden brown; the jam may bubble and that’s fine. Leave the cookies in the tins for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, always making certain that the tins are cool.
The cookies can be assembled, wrapped airtight and baked straight from the freezer, in which case they might need another minute or so in the oven. Baked, the cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
Ringed Jammers: If you have 2-inch baking rings, use the rings to cut out the rolled dough. Place the dough – still in the rings – on lined baking sheets and build the Jammers in the rings. Bake as you would for the muffin-tin cookies. Leave the rings in place for at least 20 minutes before lifting them off, rinsing and re-using.
Yield: Makes approximately 30 cookies
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, both sugars and the salt on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. The mixture should be smooth, but not fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and, one by one, beat in the yolks followed by the vanilla. Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour all at once and pulse the mixer until the risk of flying flour has passed. With the machine on low, mix just until the flour disappears into the dough. Give the dough a couple of turns with a sturdy flexible spatula.
Turn the dough out onto the counter, divide it in half, gather each piece into a ball and shape into a disk.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough 1/4-inch thick between sheets of parchment. Slide the parchment-sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet (you can stack the slabs of dough) and freeze for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Wrapped airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months or refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter (or spray) the molds of a regular-size muffin tin (or use nonstick) – if you’ve got two tins, use both of them – and have a 2-inch cookie cutter at hand.
Working with one sheet of dough at a time, peel away both sheets of paper (it’s hard to cut the dough otherwise); put the dough back on one sheet. Cut the dough and drop the rounds into the muffin tin. The rounds might not fill the muffin tins completely now, but they will once they bake. Save the scraps.
Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sanding sugar.
Bake the cookies for 16 to 19 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch and are golden brown around the rims. Transfer the muffin tin(s) to a rack and let the cookies rest for about 10 minutes before carefully lifting them out and onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
Continue with the remainder of the dough. Gather the scraps together, re-roll, chill, cut and bake, always using cool tins.
The cookies will keep in a tin at room temperature for about 5 days. If you haven’t dusted the sablés with sugar, they can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. Because the sugar will melt in the freezer, decorated cookies are not suitable for freezing.
Slice and Bake Sablés: While these will be too higgledy-piggledy to turn into Jammers or anything else that’s structured, they’ll be delicious to enjoy any way you’d like. When the dough is mixed, divide it in half and shape each half into a log that’s about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs and freeze for at least 3 hours. When you’re ready to bake, slice the logs into cookies about 1/3-inch thick. Place them about 2 inches apart on lined baking sheets, sprinkle with sugar and bake one sheet at a time on the center rack of a 350-degrees-F oven for 17 to 20 minutes.
Ringed Sablés: If you have 2-inch baking rings, use the rings to cut out the rolled dough. Bake the dough – in the rings – on lined baking sheets just as you would the muffin-tin cookies. Leave the rings in place for at least 20 minutes before lifting them off, rinsing and re-using.
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups
You can make the streusel by hand or in a mixer. I prefer to use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, but fingers are not a compromise. Whether working with a mixer or by hand, whisk the flour, both sugars and the salt together in the mixer (or mixing) bowl. Drop in the cubes of cold butter and toss all the ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is coated.
If you’re continuing by hand, squeeze, mash, mush or otherwise rub everything together until you have a bowl full of moist clumps and curds. Squeeze the streusel and it will hold together. Sprinkle over the vanilla and toss to blend.
If you’re working with a mixer, mix on medium-low speed until the ingredients form moist, clumpy crumbs. Squeeze the streusel and it will hold together. Reaching this stage takes longer than you think it will – you might have to mix for 10 minutes or more. When the grainy crumbs have turned moist and form clumps and curds, sprinkle over the vanilla and mix until blended.
Pack the streusel into a covered container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (3 would be better) before using.
Stored in a plastic zipper-lock bag (squeeze out as much of the air as you can) or a closed container, the streusel will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Packed airtight, you can freeze it for up to 2 months; thaw in the refrigerator.
This segment aired on December 2, 2016.