This past weekend, I co-hosted a card party. My responsibilities included securing the RSVPs of the players, finding subs for regulars who couldn’t make it and whipping up a few dishes of grub to fuel the cut-throat hands of cards we’d be playing.
In the middle of tracking down tried-and-true recipes for a crowd, I stumbled across a recipe for Rosemary Cookies. These were not on the card-party menu, but they were quickly bookmarked for immediate consideration.
I was intrigued by these cookies because I couldn’t quite get my mind around what a sweet cookie with the savory bite of rosemary would taste like. But since this recipe is part of the Cooking Up A Storm collection, I trusted that the authors knew what they were talking about. After all, this is a cookbook that was compiled after Katrina and in response to the many readers of the Times-Picayune looking for recipes they had lost to Katrina.
I was not disappointed. In fact, once I had sampled one or two cookies, I could completely, 100 percent understand why the recipe’s author, Mary Youngblood Cooper, keeps a jar of these on hand for folks who stop by for a visit and why folks are disappointed when said cookie jar is empty. From personal experience, I can tell you these cookies are great with a cup of Earl Grey tea on an icky, overcast Sunday afternoon.
For a point of reference, these cookies reminded me just a smidgen bit of the Danish butter cookies you can get in the tins during the holidays. Except these were better.
Now, I could end this blog post here and you might think this was the end of the story. But I can’t. This is the Kitchen Trials. And I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t tell you I ran into a snafu or two along the way.
First, when baking cookies, pay close attention to the ingredient amounts. Do not, for example, confuse half a cup of butter for half a stick of butter. Otherwise, you might be staring out your cookie dough wondering why in hades it won’t turn into cookie dough and why in tarnation it’s so darned dry and crumbly. And then, you’ll be forced to smack yourself on the forehead when you realize, for example, that you only put in half the necessary amount of butter.
Just a little helpful advice from me to you. You know, just in case you run into something like this. Not that I’d know anything about this from first-hand experience or anything. Nope. Not me. (okay. so i did this. exactly. but it was fixable.)
Next, the directions say to use a teaspoon to measure out the cookies and to flatten them a bit with a cookie stamp (a what?!) or the bottom of glass, and to bake for 10 minutes. I was even able to surmise that the cookies would bake up more evenly if I rolled each cookie blob into a sphere before I smooshed it a bit.
Well, what the directions really ought to have said was to use an actual teaspoon and to make small little cookie dough balls. Because, when you make large cookie dough balls using this recipe, you wind up with only about 15 cookies and they have to bake in the oven for closer to 20 minutes before they’re done. The cookies were still good, but it took longer and – let’s face it – 15 cookies?! Just 15 cookies?! That’s it? Yeesh…
Lastly, I put all the ingredients into the bowl together, including the two teaspoons of sugar, which were intended to be smooshed into the tops of the cookies when they were flattened a bit. Oops… Again, this wasn’t a big deal, but I could see where it’d make a difference in the texture and presentation of the cookies.
So… Lessons learned. 1) Read the directions carefully. 2) Make the cookies smaller. 3) Again, read the directions more carefully.
(from Cooking Up A Storm)
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter, room temperature
1 cup of all-purpose of unbleached flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons minced, fresh rosemary
Squeeze of lemon juice
About 2 teaspoons of sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together. On an ungreased cookie sheet, drop cookie dough balls onto the sheet. I scooped up even amounts of cookie dough with a teaspoon and rolled them into smooth balls between my palms. Make sure there’s about an inch or more between cookies because they’ll spread out while baking. Next, smoosh the cookies with your finger, the bottom of a glass or the mysterious “cookie stamp.”
Depending on the size of your cookie dough balls, cooking time will vary. The original recipe said to bake for 10 minutes or until the edges have just turned golden brown. My cookies were a bit bigger though and took nearly 20 minutes. The golden brown edges are the tell-tale sign the cookies are done. Don’t overbake them though!. They’ll crisp up a bit more after they’ve cooled.
Once out of the oven, cool the cookies on a rack. Store in an airtight container when cool. Or, you know, eat them all up before they even need to be stored.