“The Perfect Cookie.” By America’s Test Kitchen. 448 pages. $35.
When we was 8, my father married Pam, giving me a reward mom of my dreams and an extended family that distinguished Christmas with a kind of gratifying fun we suspicion was indifferent for Hollywood movies.
As winter falls over Maine and a holidays approach, we mostly find my mind erratic behind to those initial Christmases together as a blended family. Pam’s grandmother Elsie (Grammy to her and Gram-Gram to us), an consultant seamstress whose hands were never still, would broach mittens and hats and Christmas sweaters she knitted for me and my brothers.
On a Saturday before Christmas, we’d raise into a automobile for a prolonged expostulate to Pam’s family Christmas jubilee dual states away. There was something generally enchanting about this outing to Aunt Shirley and Uncle Puzzy’s house, where wreaths hung on a porch and a pool waited out behind for parties a following summer. An oversized Christmas tree always stood in a dilemma of a vital room, decorations sparkling and presents spilling in piles from underneath a lowest branches.
Aunt Shirley, a kind of ideal stewardess we still aspire to be, would offer what seemed like unconstrained appetizers before cooking was ready. The prolonged list in a dining room was always lonesome with gratifying Christmas centerpieces and a smorgasboard of favorite family dishes, like feathery crushed potatoes and forged roasts.
There on a dessert table, between Nana’s peanut butter fudge and other imagination treats, I’d find a dessert Gram-Gram brought. To other family gatherings she’d mostly move a lemon meringue cake or a dessert layered with chocolate pudding, Cool Whip and nuts (which we usually usually recently schooled from Aunt Shirley was approaching a plate called Better Than Sex). But during Christmastime there were tiny turn cookies, buttery and flaky and rolled in confectioners’ sugar. They were my favorite, even if a sugarine sprinkled down on my Christmas dress like a powdering of snow.
Eventually, as family members died and children grew and changed away, a Christmas parties stopped. After Gram-Gram was gone, we never had those cookies again. I’d spasmodic consider of them and betrothed someday to find a recipe for something similar.
When we grabbed “The Perfect Cookie” from America’s Test Kitchen off a shelf and flipped it open, it was to a recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies. we knew these had to be Gram-Gram’s cookies.
As approaching from America’s Test Kitchen, this book offers 250 recipes that are clearly explained and guarantee to be foolproof. Divided into 10 categories of cookies, brownies and bars, a recipes operation from “perfect” chocolate chip cookies to baklava to pivotal orange bars. The book includes sections on Christmas cookies and gluten-free desserts. If we have room in your kitchen for usually one cookie cookbook, this would be a good choice.
The Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe was easy to follow and came together quickly. As we rolled a cookies in confectioners’ sugar, my mind drifted behind to those early Christmases with Pam and her family. Three generations are left now – Pam, Nana and Gram-Gram – though we still demeanour for ways to keep their memories with me. These cookies were a acquire tie to Gram-Gram and will turn partial of my holiday baking tradition.
MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES
Makes 48 cookies
2 cups pecans or walnuts
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 crater (21/3 ounces) superfine sugar
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
11/2 cups (6 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and feverishness oven to 325 degrees. Line dual baking sheets with vellum paper. Process 1 crater pecans in food processor until hardness of march cornmeal, about 10 to 15 seconds; send pecans to bowl. Process remaining 1 crater pecans in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, about 5 seconds; send to play with belligerent pecans. Stir flour and salt into pecans.
2. Using mount mixer propitious with paddle, kick butter and superfine sugarine during middle speed until dark and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and solemnly supplement bulb reduction until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down play and continue to brew on low speed until mix is cohesive, about 7 seconds. Give mix final stir by palm to safeguard no dry pockets of flour remain.
3. Working with 1 tablespoon mix during a time, hurl into balls and space them 1 in. detached on prepared sheets. Bake until tops are dark golden brownish-red and bottoms are usually commencement to brown, about 18 minutes, switching and rotating sheets median by baking. Let cookies cold on sheets for 5 minutes, afterwards send to handle rack. Let cookies cold completely.
4. Spread confectioners’ sugarine in shoal dish. Working with several cookies during a time, hurl in sugarine to coat. Before serving, re-roll cookies in confectioners’ sugarine and kindly shake off excess.