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Tiny cookies to give or share.

DAINTY, DURABLE, AND DIVERSE ACCURATELY DESCRIBE THESE HANDY cookies. You start with a basic dough, flavored by browned butter, then add other ingredients to create four different variations, including a hazelnut-chocolate combination that Italians call gianduia. Because the cookies are tiny, one batch makes many, and dozens of them take up little space; because they keep well, they make good gifts; and because there are so many flavor choices, tasters will be delighted.

Golden Button Cookies

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine 3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 large egg white 1 teaspoon vanilla Flavor options (choices follow) 1 cup all-purpose flour

In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt butter and heat just until it begins to smell and look lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Pour into a bowl with sugar and soda. Beat to mix. Add egg white and vanilla; beat to blend well.

If desired, add flavor option.

Add flour and stir to mix well. If making ahead, cover airtight and chill up to 3 days.

Measure dough in 1/2-teaspoon portions and drop about 1 inch apart on lightly oiled 12- by 15-inch baking sheets (use 2 or 3 pans and bake in sequence).

Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until cookies are golden brown, about 10 minutes. (If you have 1 oven, alternate pan positions after 5 to 6 minutes.) Transfer to racks; when cookies are cool, serve or package airtight up to 3 days. Freeze to store longer. Makes about 9 1/2 dozen.

Per cookie: 17 cal. (48 percent from fat); 0.1 g protein; 0.9 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 2.1 g carbo.; 16 mg sodium; 2.2 mg chol.

Flavor options

Gianduia buttons. Place 1/2 cup hazelnuts in an 8- to 9-inch-wide pan. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until nuts are browned under their skins and smell toasted, about 15 minutes. Pour nuts into a clean towel. Rub vigorously with towel to remove as much of the brown skin as possible. Lift nuts from towel; discard skins. Whirl nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground.

Make golden button cookies, preceding, adding as flavor options the nuts, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, and 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder. Reduce flour to 3/4 cup, add to dough, and continue as directed. Bake cookies until tops begin to look dry and slightly cracked, about 10 minutes. Makes about 11 dozen.

Per cookie: 17 cal. (58 percent from fat); 0.2 g protein; 1.1 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 1.9 g carbo.; 14 mg sodium; 1.9 mg chol.

Bizcochitos buttons. Coarsely crush 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seed and 1/4 teaspoon anise seed with a mortar and pestle or flat-bottomed glass. Make golden button cookies, preceding, adding seed as the flavor option. Makes about 9 1/2 dozen.

Per cookie: 17 cal. (48 percent from fat); 0.1 g protein; 0.9 g fat (0.5 g sat.); 2.1 g carbo.; 16 mg sodium; 2.2 mg chol.

Lemon buttons. Coarsely crush enough hard lemon drop candies to make 1/2 cup; grate 1 teaspoon each lemon and orange peel. Make golden button cookies, preceding, adding candy and peel as the flavor option. Makes about 11 dozen.

Per cookie: 16 cal. (39 percent from fat); 0.1 g protein; 0.7 g fat (0.4 g sat.); 2.3 g carbo.; 14 mg sodium; 1.9 mg chol.

Peppermint buttons. Coarsely crush enough hard peppermint candies to make 1/2 cup. Make golden button cookies, preceding, adding candy as the flavor option. Makes about 11 dozen.

Per cookie: 16 cal. (39 percent from fat); 0.1 g protein; 0.7 g fat (0.4 g sat.); 2.3 g carbo.; 14 mg sodium; 1.9 mg chol.
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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining; recipes
Author:Weber, Christine B.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:644
Previous Article:Showpiece side dishes.
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