Posey's Holiday Cookie Recipe!
Chef Robin of How to Cook a Wolf here to share one of my favorite holiday cookies. This recipe is based on Anna Thomas's recipe for Russian Tea Cakes in her delightful and delicious cookbook The New Vegetarian Epicure. The longest part of the process is softening the butter. I use a food processor but if you don’t have one and don’t have an intrepid, counter cruiser of a cat, you can allow a couple of sticks of butter to soften overnight on top of the fridge.
This particular version uses currants and hazelnuts. The flavors combine beautifully in the cookie and fill your kitchen with a buttery, nutty redolence. You can use pretty much any combination of flavors – almonds and dried cherries, walnuts and chips of dark chocolate, orange zest and dried cranberries – you get the idea. If you like, pull out twice the amount of butter and make two flavors -- just cut the rolled dough into different shapes, and voila! Cookies galore! Pack and ship to a far-flung family and friends or nibble with your morning coffee. Honestly, you’ll have enough cookies to do both.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus more for coating)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup toasted and crushed hazelnuts
1/4 cup dried currants
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1. In a food processor, combine the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and spin until it's light and fluffy. Add the nuts and use the pulse button maybe four, five times. Add the flour and pulse again until just combined. Get a sheet of wax paper ready.
2. Scrape dough out of the mixer and onto the paper. Use the paper to push and pull the dough into a log shape. If you like, you can square the edges of the wrapped dough at this stage to make square cookies. Refrigerate for about an hour until the dough is firm enough to slice.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut 1/2 inch slices from the dough log and put them on an ungreased cookie sheet, or a parchment papered sheet tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until they're just about to turn color (these babies can go from perfect to pitch in a matter of moments -- don't be afraid to sit in front of the oven, GBBO-style, and check them constantly after the 10 minute mark).
4. When they're out of the oven, let them cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet. In the meantime, put half a box of powdered sugar into a bowl. Throw the warm cookies into the sugar and toss gently until they are coated. Spread them on wax paper to cool, and once they've cooled completely, roll them in sugar one more time, for good measure.
Chef Robin Posey