Baking Diary – Log 20 – Danish Butter Cookies – 14.02.2014
Hi there, good to see you again so soon! 🙂
Today is Valentine’s Day, and I just feel like blogging. The rock has started rolling, and so is my passion (hopefully it will still be like this at the end of the road).
This Tet holiday, one and only one of my goodies was proudly presented on Family’s Traditional Sweet Assortments (which is kinda a big thing, just so you know, since this assortment is open for guests who come to our house during the holiday). My face was like this 😀 the whole time. What is that mysterious goody? Picture follows.
As you saw on the pic above, it’s Danish Butter Cookies. ❤ A treat so attractive, I once almost finished a whole box of 500g myself, on ONE take, homemade of course. 😉
Well, to be honest, I am very torn when deciding whether to share this recipe with you. Please allow me to be selfish sometimes, but it is just THAT good. >.< But yeah, I have overcome my indecisiveness (and selfishness, some applause please, :D), and now sharing this great recipe to you.
Excited yet? Me too.
Make 20-25 cookies (diameter 4cm)
- 120g butter, (very) softened at room temperature
- 60g powdered/icing sugar (no substitute)
- 1tsp. vanilla extract (or even better, seed of 1 vanilla bean)
- 1 egg white
- 120g all-purpose flour
- 30g cornstarch (no substitute)
- ½ tsp. salt
Updated notes on flour percentage – 08.04.2014
Above ratio of 12og butter – 150g total flours is the most flavorful ratio I tried of this butter cookies. However, for a more defined piped cookie (meaning clearer, sharper edges, more well-shaped), simply add in 20g all-purpose flour + 10g cornstarch, which in new recipe is 140g all purpose flour, 40g cornstarch. The batter will be harder to pipe out, but will maintain its shape after baking much, much better.
- 30g raisin/candied cherries/dried cranberries
- 20ml dark rum (optional, if making this for kids, substitute with hot water)
- 50g almond, halved (did I tell you that I am an almond crazy fan?)
Secrets to success
1) Leave Out the Leavening
Now, you may notice that recipe above contains no leavening of any kind, e.g. baking soda, baking powder, yeast, etc. If you think about the purpose of baking powder/soda in a recipe, it’s to help batter/dough rise up and spread out, in order to achieve the light and fluffy texture, which is great for cake, or muffin. But well, we are making cookies, which suppose to have that little bite-able crunch to it, so leavening is not that helpful after all.
2) The Magic Ingredient
This was pure luck. One day, I just stumbled upon this insanely great idea here on this blog: http://bakingamoment.com/how-to-bake-easy-and-delicious-cutout-cookies-with-neat-edges/. According to her (a blogger with kindred soul), the biggest key to the whole business is THE CORNSTARCH. It not only give the cookies a heavenly “meltaway” texture, but It also helps the dough stay right where you want it, meaning clean edges and all. I am so blessed to find her, and the cornstarch, of course!
3) Creaming (very) softened butter very well with icing sugar
A miracle happened to me one time. Well, it was a hot night, literally. And my butter was softened past the room-temperature point, meaning it was very soft, almost like whipped cream, but not melted at all. I did not have enough patience to pop it into the fridge again so I just went with the flow and cream it anyway. I thought to myself “If I use granulated sugar, it’s no good as the butter is too soft to absorb it.” And so I switch to powdered sugar. What happened? Bam, miracle happened. 😉 The soft butter was creamed so beautifully with powdered sugar. It was light, it was fluffy, it was white, it was perfect. What made it even better, since the butter is already very soft, it does not have much to melt anymore, and it truly help your hand muscle when you try to pipe these suckers on your baking tray.
4) Egg white only
I read (and researched) again, and this time I give you the Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/food-science-substituting-eggs-84993. To save your reading time, I will walk you through the awesomeness of an egg. Each egg contains of 2 things: White and yolk (and shell of course, but we almost never use it in baking, don’t we?). So how many ways are there we can use up an egg? Three: white only, york only, and whole (combination of both). Think of each as a unique ingredient that does something different to your cookies. Egg whites are mostly protein and water, so they help set the structure and dry baked goods out, so final products will be tight, and crunchy. Yolks are primarily fats, vitamins, and minerals with some protein, and they make baked goods moist and give a smooth texture, your cookies will be crumbly, taste a tad richer, and tender, almost cake-like. Whole eggs do a bit of both but none to its upper limit, like glue with a bit of grease, twisted, huh? So if I want mine to be extremely well-shaped and have some crunch to it, what should I do? Egg white only! 🙂
Step 1: Soak the dried raisin in hot water/rum at least 20 mins before baking. Preheat the oven to 170 degree C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment papers.
Step 2: Combine flour and cornstarch. Then, sift, always sift flour. 😀
Step 3: Cream soft butter with powdered sugar and salt until very white, light and fluffy, its size should be 4 times more than initial stage. This can take about 7-10 minutes, but hang on tight, your patience will be paid back.
Step 4: Add egg white, beat again until it is fully incorporated into the butter.
Step 5: add flour mixture in 3 additions together with vanilla extract. Beat until just combine after each addition. Here is how the dough look like at the end.
Step 6: Now prepare a piping bag with big star tip like this. And stuff your beautiful dough inside.
Step 7: Piping time! to have this shape in my picture, pipe it like a rose on your cupcake, start from the outside and swirl all the way in. Top it with some soaked raisin. Tip to help raisin stick after baking is using extra egg white as glue. 🙂 You can notice how easy it is to pipe this dough, soft butter rules!
Step 8: Now bake them in the preheated oven for 12-15 mins until the cookies are just blushed with brown color on the outer edge. While waiting for one batch to be baked, start piping another tray to save time.
Step 9: One tray’s out, one’s in. Let cookies sit on the tray for 5 mins because they are quite fragile right after being bake. After that, cool them down completely on a cooling rack.
Step 10: Keep the in airtight containers up to maximum 2 weeks (I highly doubt that they survive that long.) Some of this, a cup of rose tea. Life is good!
You can try dipping these into chocolate and let them harden, then enjoy. Or crush some almond flakes on the batter before baking, or try baking in form of thumbprint cookies with some raspberry jam, or playing with the cookie press, sure this dough is very tolerable. 🙂 Your limit is your mind.
So, that’s it for now.
Until next time.