Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies with a Twist

Spoon Cookies filled with Chocolate

A while back, I clipped this cookie recipe from Gourmet magazine, filed it away and forgot about it.
But in a fit of house cleaning, which is ongoing and never ending, I found the recipe in a crumpled pile under some old notebooks and 3rd grade homework. Before sticking the page in the recycling bin, though, I went over to Epicurious and added it to my online recipe box.

(And just to digress for one second, is anyone else as irritated with the "new and improved" Epi as I am? What was wrong with the old one? Now I sit and twiddle my fingers waiting for the pages to load and the annoying little pop-ups to go away.)

As much as I enjoy having some quiet time flipping through my favorite food magazines, they multiply like mold spores and I never seem to catch up. I make a mental note to remember a certain page or recipe, which everyone over the age 35 knows is a bad idea. All those notes end up in a dusty corner of my mommy brain, lost forever.

Since I'm still in the gather-it-up-and-get-rid-of-it stage ever since The Big Flood, I'm liking the idea of flagging favorite recipes and menus on sites like Epi and My Recipes. They pretty much have every recipe that's been published in the last decade available for free, so there's no need for me to stockpile issues in the basement, where I trip over them. I even bought new recipe organizing software that allows me to import recipes and their swell photos. I know! I'm all 21st century now.

Anyway, I'm glad I saved this one since they were so simple and fun to make. This is basically a shortbread dough made with brown butter, which is the secret to their extraordinary flavor. I love the little nut-like bits of browned butter in the baked cookie, too.

These seem to be fairly unusual; in my brief search for similiar cookies, all I found was one in a cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas, The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. She calls them Finnish Teaspoon Cookies.

I chose to fill these with chocolate because, why not? My second choice would be some good apricot jam.

Cook butter until it turns the color of golden honey

Form cookies with a deep-bowled spoon

Spoon Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt, slightly rounded
Chocolate ganache * or fruit preserves

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns golden, smells nutty, and flecks on bottom of pan turn deep caramel brown. A thick foam will form and cover the surface just before butter begins to brown - keep close attention and stir more frequently.

Pour the butter into a medium bowl set into a larger bowl of ice to stop cooking. Stir frequently until butter appears emulsified and opaque, about 3 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; add to butter and stir until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and let stand at room temperature 1 or 2 hours.

Place oven rack in middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

Pinch off a piece of dough and press firmly into the bowl of a teaspoon. Slide the dough off the spoon and place flat-side down on an ungreased cookie sheet. Continue forming cookies and arrange on sheet. Bake until very pale golden, 12-15 minutes. Cool cookies on a rack 5 minutes before transfering to a rack to cool completely.

Spread cookies with soft, spreadable chocolate ganache or warmed preserves.

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.

Chocolate Ganache

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream just to a simmer, then pour over chocolate. Stir gently until smooth.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food


Anh said...

I agree on the chocolate filling, too! These sound like a winner!

Karen said...

Thanks, Anh. How can you go wrong with chocolate?

Manggy said...

Oh, I have this issue! It's from the one with lots of cookies on the cover-- December 2005, if I'm not mistaken. The author claims they're very popular among her friends. Did they scarfed up pretty quickly?

janelle said...

Karen: love the photo. I trip over magazines in my basement too. AND since we just moved I am quite over how much they weigh to move...

...us around 35 need to be more online savvy:). I just went all Google calendar. It is fabulous!

Way to save a crumpled recipe; sometimes it is like a good dive restaurant. A hidden treasure waiting to be found.

Karen said...

Manggy, lucky you. I actually foraged around looking for that issue for a second, but most of my back issues of Gourmet got wet and are long gone.

The cookies did disappear too quickly. I meant to give some as a gift, but they were gone before I had a chance to pack them up!

Janelle, Nice to hear from you. Moving boxes of magazines does bring home the truth about keeping them -- that they're back-breakers!

I'm exploring Google calendar, too. I need all the help I can get on the organizing front.

Lisa said...

I still have this issue of Gourmet, and those cookies have become one of my holiday staples. They are soooo good! I have filled them with raspberry and apricot preserves and they are yummy! Did you try the author's suggestion of letting them sit for a couple of days before eating? It really does make a difference (but it is exhausting fighting kids and husbands off of fresh baked cookies!). The grasshopper squares from this issue are fab as well.

Valli said...

These would make a great addition to my cookie tray this year. I love the chocolate filling!!

dynamitt said...

thanx for the linkes. Maybe there will be some new food in this house now :)

Shawn said...

The simplest recipes are always the best. I wish I had found this one before I baked my Christmas cookies for friends. There's always next year...