I love Martha Stewart but have to remind myself to steer clear of her show and magazine from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Her ideas are all so great but last week she made trees from old magazines, and lovely as they were, I will never have that kind of time in my life. Now that doesn't mean we can't have fun during the holidays--the goals just need to be realistic and attainable. That's why I love this basic butter cookie from an old issue of Gourmet. The directions say to simply slice and bake them, but I figure if I can multi-task then my cookie needs to do the same.
Here are some other fun things you can do with it:
- Roll them out and use a biscuit cutter to cut circles, then bake and fill the cooled cookies with jam and dip or drizzle with melted chocolate
- Roll into balls and press into colored sugar or sprinkles
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 with a handheld. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Form dough into a 12-inch log (2 inches in diameter) on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll up dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough on a baking sheet until firm, at least 4 hours.
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
Cut enough 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices from log with a heavy knife to fill 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging slices about 1 inch apart (chill remainder of log, wrapped in plastic wrap). If garnishing with coarse sugar, sprinkle slices with it.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.