Grandma Sylvia’s Salt Butter Cookie

Another guest post! This time by my 12 year old daughter!  Well, I’m still blogging, but she made the recipe, so does that still count as a guest post??   Today’s recipe is from a cookbook America’s Best Lost Recipes; it has a splash of whiskey in this chocolate filled butter cookies (I know, 12 year old and whiskey don’t mix, but she wanted to bake these and didn’t see any harm in it).

salt butter cookies

Makes about 36 cookies:

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon whiskey

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate

1/4 cup water

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla and whiskey and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the yolk mixture. Add the flour and beat until incorporated. Shape the dough into 3/4-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake until lightly browned around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

When the cookies are cool, in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop, heat the chocolate and water together, stirring occasionally, until completely smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Spread 1 teaspoon of filling on one cookie and top with another cookie, pressing them together. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let the filling set until hardened, about 20 minutes, before serving.

Note:  Using a teaspoon to make balls seemed very effective (I think my daughter made little more than 72 cookies, which easily became 36 sandwiched cookies).  Also, we had a little difficulty with the filling being runny, but chilling the filling inside the refrigerator helped it to firm up.

My opinion:  First of all, I do have to say my daughter enjoyed baking these delicious morsels, but for goodness sake!  she talked and talked throughout this baking process!  Anyway, these cookies reminded me of the cross between French butter cookies and shortbread – I personally liked them without the filling, but my children liked the filling (go figure!).

Quinoa Cookies–Almond/Cherry & Coconut/Chocolate

I felt like baking some cookies today; the weather has truly turned into cool & crisp Fall weather.  I even had to close my bedroom window last night and bring out a thin comforter!  Some people may think it’s weird, but I love this type of weather.  I also love to see people dressed up in their Fall fashion, personally, I think Fall fashion surpasses any other seasonal fashion! 

Today’s recipe came from Bon Appetit – the original recipe called from almond & cranberry, however, I like cherries so that’s what I used.  I also made a second batch using coconut & chocolate. 

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Coconut/Chocolate in the middle & Almond/Cherry surrounding coconut/chocolate.

Makes 2 dozen

For Almond/Cherry:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup(packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled (the measurement is 1 cup after the quinoa has been cooked)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup slivered unsalted almonds

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracts; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, cherries, and almonds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1” apart.

  • Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. DO AHEAD: Store cooled cookies airtight at room temperature for 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month.


For Coconut/Chocolate:  All the ingredients are the same except you do not add the almond extract, and instead of cherries & almonds, add 1 cup chocolate chips & 3/4 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut.  Follow the same instruction. 

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I love quinoa!!
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Almond/Cherry on the left & Coconut/Chocolate on the right.

My opinion: Yum yum yummy!!  I baked a minute or 2 longer and the cookies were cakey in the middle.  If you like crispier cookies either make the cookies smaller or bake them for a little longer.  Not overly sweet, but you taste wonderful ingredients of almond/cherry or coconut/chocolate in tasteful harmony (did I sound too corny here??)!!  I’m sure eating too many of these will not help my waistline, but makes me feel good knowing I’m eating oats & quinoa!!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh my gosh, can I be honest with you? I don’t even like Oreos (I know, shoot me, but I never liked the chocolate cookie wafers getting stuck in between my teeth).  What possessed me to bake these cookies?!  My daughter asked me if I can bake something for her Literature class celebration (aka party).  I was going to bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars, because these were a huge hit last time I baked and sent to the school.

 However, I stumbled across this Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies here and my jaw dropped.  I couldn’t believe anyone will eat these, because they looked like pure sin to me!!  My daughter looked at it and said she wanted these for her party; well, can’t be that bad right?? 

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I have this aversion to hydrogenated oil and other stuff, so I went to my organic market and bought their version of “Oreo” cookies:
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Makes about 24:

• 1 cup shortening (I used vegetable shortening from my organic store)
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 package Double Stuff Oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with a mixer until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In medium bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.
With a cookie scoop, form balls with the dough. Place one ball on top of an Oreo cookie, and another ball on the bottom. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo cookie is fully enclosed with dough.
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Place onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets and bake cookies for approximately 13 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

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My opinion:  My cookies came out to be about 2 to 2-1/2 inches in diameter.  These are pretty rich (duh!)… I also chilled the cookie dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  You can also substitute with other cookies, I’m thinking minty cookies will probably go well in this recipe.    If you have sweet tooth you would want to swim in these, but I highly discourage you doing that.  My children were in heaven when we taste tested these.  I decided to cut the cookies into halves and send these to my daughter’s school.  I don’t want to be responsible for making other children overweight.

Christmas Cookies Part 3–Toasted Almond Butter Thins

I am at the finishing line!!! Hooray!!  I do have to say it was all worth it.  After packing the cookies into gift boxes I gave some cookies to my children, and they said, “Mom, this tastes of love” – oh my gosh, I don’t care if they were bluffing or being cheesy, I’ll bake again! well, maybe not right away. 

The last cookie recipe is  Toasted Almond Butter Thins from Fine Cooking.  This is light, crispy and buttery good!  Even though this called for almonds, I’m thinking you can substitute with any nuts, I’m thinking pistachio for next time. 

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Yields about 12 dozen:

9 oz. (2-1/4 cups) slivered almonds, toasted
4-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cake flour
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour
8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 tsp. table salt
10 oz. (2-2/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature


Blend the almonds and both flours; set aside. With the paddle of an electric mixer (or regular beaters), cream the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy but not melted. Add the salt and confectioners’ sugar; mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the egg; mix until blended. Add the flour mixture; as soon as the dough comes together, stop the mixer. Scrape the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Using the wrap to help shape and protect the dough, gently press it into a rectangle that’s about 4-1/2 x 8 inches and about 1-1/2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until dough is firm enough to slice, at least 3 hours.

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Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Unwrap the dough, trim the edges, and slice it into three 1-1/2-inch-square logs. Slice each log into square cookies between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Lay the squares 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet.
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Bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 8 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. Cool on the baking sheet until cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes) and then transfer the cookies to a rack.

So, this year’s Christmas Cookies are:
Pfeffernüsse
Basler Brunsli
Magical Mint Kiss Cookies & Drömkakor
Coconut Cookies & Santa’s Whiskers

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Getting ready to pack them in gift boxes!

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Happy Baking everyone!!

Christmas Cookies Part 2–Coconut Cookies & Santa’s Whiskers

Continuing with our mad cookie baking day!  My house is perpetually smelling like a bakery now – in a way it’s really nice, but also I’m wondering how much pounds I will be gaining after this holiday season.  I haven’t been binging on any of the cookies I have baked, but I do have to taste test… sigh…

Anyway, today’s cookies are Coconut Cookies (from Saveur) and Santa’s Whiskers (from Epicurious).

Coconut Cookies:  Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. melted butter
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg

Moisten your hands with water to aid in forming the balls. Preheat oven to 350°. Mix coconut flakes, sugar, flour, melted butter, egg yolks, and whole egg in a medium mixing bowl until ingredients hold together. Roll dough into walnut-size balls and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets until golden on top, about 15 minutes.

My opinion: These taste like macaroons!!  A really easy recipe!!  If you love coconuts you have to make this!!

Santa’s Whiskers: Makes about 5 dozen cookies

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  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla or rum extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces red candied cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces green candied cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans

**I omitted pecans

Arrange two approximately 12- by 12-inch square pieces of wax paper on a work surface and spread half the flaked coconut in the middle of each.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Add the milk and vanilla or rum extract and beat until fully incorporated. With the mixer on low, add the flour in 3 batches, followed by the red and green cherries and the pecans, and stir until just combined, about 2 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a 10-inch-long log, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Transfer each log to a sheet of wax paper and roll to coat them in the coconut. Once the logs are completely covered in coconut, roll the wax paper around each log, cover in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

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Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and a second rack in the lower third then preheat to 375°F.
Slice each log crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick cookies and arrange on baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between cookies.
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Bake, switching the baking sheets between the upper and lower racks about halfway through baking, until light golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Continue baking cookies on cooled baking sheets.

DO AHEAD: The cookies can be baked ahead and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

My opinionReally really yummy!!  It’s a tamer version of butter cookie with candied cherries (which aren’t sweet in this cookie) and nice texture and taste of coconut!

Christmas Cookies Part 1–Magical Mint Kiss Cookies & Drömkakor (Swedish Dream Cookies)

There is a good reason why I’m not in a bakery or restaurant business;  I was not meant to cook and bake in a rush – being in a kitchen is supposed to be therapeutic for me where I can nourish and nurture my suppressed creative side.  Oh well, can’t have my way all the time.  Like many of you I am in this holiday rush to get my cookies baked and sort out the gifts, etc, etc. 

Here, I have included two wonderful cookies I baked today.  In fact I also baked Pfeffernüsse (check here for the recipe), but since I posted that already I will not repeat myself.  There is also Basler Brunsli which is a very traditional Swiss Christmas cookie recipe. 

Magical Mint Kiss Cookies:  makes about 48

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1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup good quality baking cocoa
about 48 Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Kisses, unwrapped
Powdered Sugar

Heat oven to 350F.  Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy.  Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. 

Mold scant tablespoon dough around each Kisses, covering completely.  Shape into balls.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet. 
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(Here in the states, you can oftentimes find these Mint Kisses around holiday season.  If you cannot find these you can substitute with any mint chocolates). 

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Bake 8-10 minutes or until set.  Cool about 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely and roll in powdered sugar. 

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We’ve been making this cookie for many years.  I can say this is one of my children’s favorite cookies.  It’s simple to make and tastes really good.  In the past, I have tried with other Kisses, but I think the Mint Kisses tastes the best.

Drömkakor (Swedish Dream Cookies):  Makes 45-50 cookies

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1-2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla sugar
1/3 cup corn oil

Heat oven to 300°. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl and using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 1–2 minutes. Add oil and mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  (At this point you will wonder if you had made a mistake with the instruction, because the dough will feel very dry and crumbly.  DON’T WORRY!  you are on the right path!)

2. Using a tablespoon-size measuring spoon, divide dough into about 40 portions. Using your hands, shape dough portions into balls. Place dough balls 2″ apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies crack on top and are just set, 25–30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.

This recipe came from Saveur.  We really LOVE this cookie!  It’s a lighter version of shortbread, but once you bite into it and chew the cookie starts to melt in your mouth!  Really really yummy!! 

Basler Brunsli (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies)

Specialty cookie from northern Switzerland, these cookies are very addictive.  It’s sweet (like most cookies), crisp and chewy at the same time, and a great flavor combination of ground almond, chocolate and spices!!   You have to love this recipe with short ingredient list and relative ease (although, you do need to air dry these cookies for 3 hours!! which is a must!!).   The recipe came from Saveur’s December 2010 issue.

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Yields anywhere from 2 dozen to 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter:

8 oz. whole blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for rolling
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Finely grind almonds and sugar in a food processor. Add chocolate; pulse until finely ground. Add cinnamon, cloves, and egg whites; pulse to make a dough.

Sprinkle a large piece of parchment paper with sugar; transfer dough to paper. Lay another piece of paper over dough; roll dough to 1/8″ thickness. Cut out cookies with star-shaped cutters; transfer to parchment paper—lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 1″ apart. Reroll scraps and repeat.
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Let dough dry for 3 hours. Heat oven to 300°. Bake until cookies are slightly puffed, 12–15 minutes. Let cool.

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**It is absolutely important to dry this for full 3 hours.  If you don’t, the base of the cookies will spread out when you bake them.  Someone suggested freezing them for an hour, but if you have limited freezer space, plan ahead –  let the cookies dry for 3 hours while you do something else. 

I really felt like someone had to tie my wrists together behind my back and duct tape my mouth.  This is very addictive!!!  It’s so good, but I have to remind myself : eat in moderation!!

Chocolate Chip and Dried Cherry Cookies

I tasted this first the first time about a month ago.  I took my girls to the Reading Terminal Market (one of the places tourist and locals go to), and got ourselves this Chocolate Chip and Dried Cherry Cookies from the Metropolitan Bakery.  It was rich and decadent, the mixture of sweet and salty, and I fell in love.  I’m not much of a cookie person, but this spoke to me.  I found this recipe on the Philadelphia Magazine website!

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Yields: 18 cookies (I got more than double, will explain later)
1 c. rolled oats
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 ¾ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ c. unsalted butter
1 ¼ c. granulated sugar
1 ¾ c. light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 ½ c. bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 ¼ c. dried tart cherries
4 ½ tsp. coarse sea salt

Using a food processor, grind oats into a fine oat flour. In a bowl, sift all-purpose flour with baking powder and baking soda. Add oat flour and kosher salt.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. ( I just used a large hand whisk for this).

Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate and cherries.

Using an ice-cream scoop, portion cookie dough into 18 balls. Place cookies on a parchment-lined tray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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This is what it looks like after you take it out from the frig overnight.

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet 2 inches apart. Press slightly to flatten cookies and sprinkle each cookie with ¼ teaspoon sea salt (I used Fleur de Sel).  Note:  if you’re making smaller sized cookies, make sure you reduce the amount of salt.  Some like the salty and sweet contrast, but some really don’t!!

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Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

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My Opinion: The ones I bought at the bakery were bigger and thicker. The reason for this is due to me not scooping the dough in a full ice-cream scooper.  I used a smaller scooper (which resulted in yielding about 40 cookies!!).  Same taste so I didn’t mind.  It’s interesting to see the reaction of people when they bite into this cookie.  As mentioned earlier, some do love the salty and sweet contrast, but some are not that thrilled.  If you are one of the few who love the contrast, you will love this cookie!




Here are some tips from the James Barrett (owner of Metropolitan Bakery):

Use high-quality “pure” — not “imitation” — vanilla extract for this recipe. Save the vanilla beans for liquid-based recipes, like custards.

– Affordable, reliable kosher salt is a staple in the Metropolitan kitchen, but delicate, briny fleur de sel is best for finishing these cookies.

– Chilling the dough improves the texture (it lets the flour’s glutens relax, for a more tender cookie) and the flavor. After three days, though, the baking soda and baking powder lose some of their leavening power.

– Barrett’s advice: Don’t trust your mixer. After adding the chocolate and cherries, frisage the dough by scraping it onto a clean surface and folding gently with your hands to combine ingredients the mixer may have missed.

– No, the oats don’t make these cookies healthy — but they do give them a crisp texture and slight nuttiness.

– Look for bittersweet chocolate that’s 60 to 70 percent cacao. Barrett recommends Callebaut and Scharffen Berger brands.

Potato Chip Cookies

What?! maybe your first reaction to this.  I don’t blame you.  You may be thinking, “first you try your hand on Brown Sugar Miso Ice-Cream, and then you’re putting potato chips in cookies?!”  Well, like we always say, don’t judge the book by its cover.  Give me a chance and I’ll prove you wrong!  Like many of my recipes, I got todays recipe from the Fine Cooking magazine. 

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Yields about 30 cookies.

8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for shaping
1/2 cup granulated sugar; more for shaping
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
8 oz. (scant 2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup finely crushed potato chips
**For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.)

Position oven racks in the middle and top of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment.

With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in a large bowl until creamy and well blended, about 4 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat again until blended. Add the flour, pecans, and potato chips and mix on low speed until just blended.

Shape heaping teaspoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Put some sugar in a shallow bowl. Lightly grease the bottom of a glass or measuring cup with soft butter. Dip the glass into the sugar and press the glass down on a dough ball until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.

Repeat dipping and pressing with the remaining balls.

Bake until the cookies look dry on top and the edges are light golden, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating and swapping the positions of the sheets for even baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheets on racks for 5 minutes before transferring them to racks to cool completely.
Store at room temperature or freeze in an airtight container, separating the cookie layers with waxed paper.

My opinion: Once again, what a pleasant surprise!! The cookie is buttery, crunchy and just oh so good!!  Kind of reminded me of shortbread cookiesSmile If you are a skeptic, please try this, you’ll be very surprised and you may even like it!!
Don’t worry if the shape of your cookies don’t come out nice (like mine), but just smooth around the cookies before you put the cookie sheet in the oven.
Also, if you don’t have a stand or hand mixer, just use a good whisk and a spatula.