Cookies, cookies, cookies

Or at least one recipe, because here is what I am making this morning, since schools are closed in this area. (Snow! Very beautiful. Not often we get ten inches or so before Christmas. I’m just guessing about the final amount because it’s still coming down.)

Anyway, here is an appropriate recipe for a snowy winter day:

Scandinavian Brown-Butter Cardamom Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 to 2 C flour

1 egg white
64 pecan halves

Powdered sugar

Okay, brown the butter first. Browning changes both the flavor and how the butter behaves in the cookie (it gives the cookies a sandier texture than you may be used to). You can skip this step, but it will dramatically alter the cookie. Plus, browning butter is perfectly simple.

Put the butter in a small saucepan, melt over med-low heat, and simmer until butter solids have browned, about 15 minutes or so. Pour the clarified butter through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl and chill until firm.

Add the sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and cardamom to the clarified butter and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add enough flour to make a smooth dough. For me this is close to 2 C. of flour.

Divide the dough into fourths and then eights. Shape each portion into eight smooth balls. Obviously you will have 64 cookies. Place the balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Dip the pecan halves in the egg whites and press one pecan half onto each ball, flattening the balls slightly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until set but not brown. Cool on racks. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.

In my opinion, these are at their very, very best the same day they are made. However, I will certainly freeze most of them and they will be fine when thawed. If you freeze them, they will be at their prettiest if you wait with the powdered sugar dusting till right before you serve them.

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