Monday, April 7, 2008

Sugar & Spice...

JR is one of those people who doesn’t like sweets. He doesn’t crave baked goods like I do, and has complete self control when there is a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food in the freezer. The only sweet things he eats are banana bread and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal (how he manages to eat this is beyond me!)

As a result my budding baking career slowed to a halt when we moved in together 3 years ago. There was no point to making a pan of my mother’s famous raspberry brownies, or try a new recipe for Crunchy Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake that calls out to me, because I would be the only one eating it.

Then I came across the ultimate cookies-for-people- who-don’t-like-sweets recipe in Food & Wine, Baby-Buttons. I held onto the recipe for a little while, but yesterday it was cold and dreary and I decided it was time to give it a go. The recipe is simple and results in perfect little bite sized, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth-and-moan cookies. JR promptly wolfed down 6 and the recipe was called a success.

I sent all the remaining cookies to work with JR today just so I don’t sit here and eat them.



• 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1/2 cup cornstarch
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the butter with 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar until combined. Add the cornstarch, vanilla and flour and process until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into 4 equal pieces.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch rope. Cut each rope into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Transfer the balls to the baking sheet; they won’t spread much. Bake the cookies on the center rack of the oven for about 22 minutes, until the bottoms are golden but the tops are still pale.

3. Sift the remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add 12 warm cookies to the bowl at a time and toss to coat. Transfer the cookies to a clean baking sheet. While the cookies are still warm, poke 4 shallow holes into each one with a toothpick or skewer to make a buttonhole pattern. Let the cookies cool completely before serving or storing.

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