Sunday, October 17, 2004

Crispy St. Nicholas Cookies

These were the big hit on the cookie platters I served to my CRHP team at our last meeting. Cut in star shapes, thin, crispy and subtly cinnamon, these cookies even beat out the chocolate cookies and that isn't easy. It figures that my friend Susan wanted the recipe. Not only does she love to cook but her oldest son, Nick, would be the perfect person to receive these cookies from a cookbook by Nick Malgieri, named for St. Nicholas. With that sort of connection, how could she not demand the recipe? Here it is for everyone to enjoy.

From Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri. Although this recipe calls for a standing mixer I'm sure this could be done with any regular mixer or even by hand.

Step 1:
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a bowl, combine all; stir well to mix.

Step 2:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together on medium speed the butter and sugar until light and whitened, about 5 minutes.

Step 3:
1 large egg
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Beat in egg and zest and continue beating until smooth and light, another 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beater with a large rubber spatula and, on low speed, add the flour mixture. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and complete the mixing with a large rubber spatula. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it into a square or rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap and chill the dough until it is firm, about an hour or two.

Step 4:
2 or 3 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans covered with parchment or foil
When you are ready to bake the cookies, set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out a third of the dough at a time until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Use a fluted cutter between 2 and 3 inches in diameter, or any kind of decorative cutter you wish. Just be sure to dip it frequently in flour. As they are cut, place the cookies on the prepared pans about an inch apart in all directions. Repeat with remaining dough. Save, press together, chill, and reroll the scraps to make more cookies.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until they first become dull and dry-looking and feel slightly firm when pressed with a fingertip. If you overbake the cookies, they will be very dry.

Slide the papers from the pans onto racks to cool.

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