Thursday, December 10, 2009

In Defense of Butter - or- How Christmas Cookie Baking is Going

Well, I have used 6 sticks of butter in the last two hours. Fortunately, I haven't eaten them all. But I do keep thinking about the Parisian sandwich -- I don't think we've talked about that enough. How IS it that Parisian sandwiches have visible pats of butter the length of the sandwich AND cheese and ham, yet people eat them for lunch regularly in France? I recently was sifting through a bunch of my grandmother's recipes and when she came to any sandwich recipe (of which there were surprisingly many), it began: "Generously butter each piece of bread..." And yet, like many French, my grandmother was a lean person. I think our society carries far too much fear of butter these days, don't we? Churned cream with a little salt -- it does add a lot.

Which brings me to baking cookies. I haven't actually baked any yet but have been making batches of dough -- glazed lemon cookies from a recipe I tore out of a magazine last winter; Ben's mom's sugar cookies that Silas and I will roll out and ice tomorrow; and, most intriguingly, Brown Butter Spoon Cookies with Jam.

There have been a few glitches along the way, like a paper towel falling into my bowl of carefully squeezed lemon juice and sucking it all up. Or water sloshing into my pot of carefully browned butter that was cooling in the sink. Or flour measuring. I have taken to measuring flour with a 1/3 or 1/2 c measuring cup because they fit into my flour jar (yes, wide-mouth kitchen jars are on my Christmas list). And I often lose count, even when I know that I often lose count and concentrate. When I couldn't slice the chilled lemon cookie dough without it pulverizing, I knew that once again, I had mis-measured (as I had earlier with a pumpkin cake).

Despite all the setbacks, though, I think cookies will ensue.

1 comment:

Beautiful said...

haha- I think every cook identifies with these 'tings'- my solid beef barley soup is an example, or the stew that fell on the floor but was served anyway and secretly called Floor Stew. Or the top of the salt shaker coming off and emptying the contents into the gravy a few Thanksgivings ago.on and on.We laugh now. xxxxooo