These cookies are supposed to taste just like the wonderful Danish butter cookies that come in the famous blue tin. (I think they may even be better!) Aside from that yummy association, what is really winning about them is their texture; they are very slightly crisp on the outside but the inside is soft and melts in your mouth. Mmmmmm.
This recipe is from Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan. According to Greenspan, they are traditionally piped into a “W” shape as both the initial for Wittamer, a famed pastry shop in Brussels where they are made, and for Wien, the German word for Vienna- where the cookies were thought to have been invented.
Despite requests from my kids to pipe the cookies into their own initials, I made the traditional “W”‘s. (I’ll get more adventurous next time!) Other suggested shapes included circles, pretzels, or swirls. I initially had difficulty piping the dough, but as the dough warmed up it became much easier to pipe. I was hoping that they would be worth the trouble- and- thank goodness- they were! 🙂
These cookies can be served just as they are or dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Greenspan suggests eating them with coffee or tea, ice cream, fruit salad, or creme brûlée. Delicious!!
Yield: Makes 2 dozen cookies
- 9 T (4 1/2 oz; 128 grams) unsalted butter, very soft
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 T (153 grams) all-purpose flour
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting, optional
- Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (on convection).
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift the confectioners’ sugar over it, then add the salt.
- On low speed, beat until smooth but not fluffy. (You want the dough to be homogeneous, but you don’t want to beat air into it.)
- Beat in the egg white. The white will make the dough separate and it will be slick and slidey. Keep mixing for about 1 minute, and, if the mixture curdles, don’t be concerned; the flour will smooth it out.
- Beat in the vanilla and scrape down the bowl.
- Gradually add the flour, beating only until it disappears into the soft dough.
- Fit a pastry bag with an open star tip, one that’s a scant 1/2 inch in diameter. Scrape the dough into the piping bag.
- Pipe the dough onto the lined baking sheets in tight “W” shapes that are 2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches high (or in desired shape), leaving about 2 inches of space between them (the dough will puff and spread under heat).
- Bake the cookies for 14 to 15 minutes on convection, or up to 17 to 20 minutes in a standard oven, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be golden brown at their edges and on their bottoms and paler at the center.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving, if desired.
Note: These cookies will keep for at least 1 week in an airtight container. They can be frozen for up to 2 months.
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