Makes about 4 dozen cookies
For a printable version, click here.
This is a beautiful, buttery base for so many cookies. You can keep them plain, but I like to add a bit of something. I've given two of my favorite variations in the recipe. The first is a cookie that I first tasted when living in Northwest Washington- a rosemary pine nut cookie. Don't be afraid, the rosemary isn't overwhelming. It just add a bit of an herbal quality to the buttery cookie. The second cookie is an Earl Gray tea flavored cookie. I love to infuse teas into my baking. I recently made a chai infused madelieine that was divine, and my chai spiced chocolate crackle cookie is the most popular post on my blog. For this cookie, I went more subtle, but just as delicious with an Earl Gray and orange combination. Both variations are sublime and worth making some extra to stash in the freezer for your own cookie emergency. The beauty of the slice and bake cookie is that you don't have to make all of them at once and storing them is as easy as throwing them in the freezer.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks butter (16 tbs), room temperature
3 cups plus 3 tbs all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
For the Earl Gray cookies:
zest of 1 medium orange
2 1/2 tsp crushed good quality Earl Gray tea (loose of from about 2 tea bags)
For the rosemary pine nut cookies:
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
2 tbs finely chopped rosemary
In the bowl of a stand mixer (though you could certainly use a hand mixer, or if you have strong arms do this by hand) beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until incorporated. Add the flour and baking powder and mix of low speed until completely mixed in. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 12 inches long. If you like, you can roll the logs in coarse sugar (I used raw sugar for my Earl Gray cookies). Wrap each log in plastic wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Alternately, you can place the wrapped logs in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator (If using dough from the freezer, let it thaw slightly. This will make it easier to slice without causing the dough to crumble). Using a serrated knife, slice the dough into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10 minutes. You want the cookies to be set, but not to brown. So watch carefully for the last couple of minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for one minute, then remove the cookies with a spatula to cool completely on a baking rack.
To make the Earl Gray cookies:
Add the orange zest along with the egg and vanilla. Mix the tea in with the flour and baking powder.
To make the rosemary pine nut cookies:
Add the rosemary and pine nuts along with the flour and baking powder.