Monday, December 9, 2013

Salty-Sweet Snowflakes

Yes, this is a riff off of my mother's famous Butterzeug recipe, the one she made every Christmas. 
 I'm not going to say that my variation is better.  That's impossible.  
No one made ANYTHING better than my mom.  

If you don't feel like piping onto the cookies, you can stamp them with letters.  This is a critical step in my neck of the woods where we get VERY possessive over these cookies.

My version is just  It's a touch saltier than she'd have them.  I also add a skosh of white pepper and lemon zest to my recipe.  Neither of these additions create a cookie that screams of either ingredient.  What they manage to do is add depth to the buttery party.

If you follow THIS LINK, you'll find my recipe in the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

But if you stick around a while longer, I'll reveal one more trick that takes these cookies over the top.

Browning the butter.

As published, the Salty-Sweet Snowflakes recipe calls for creaming the sugar and butter in the traditional manner, with room temperature butter and granulated sugar.  But if you want a little nutty/caramel drama added to the mix, follow me:

First, take the two sticks of butter called for in the recipe and melt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Allow the butter to simmer until it browns, creating a dark film at the bottom and along the sides of the pan.  Your aim is to brown, not burn, so keep an eye out (but also keep your eyes out of the line of bubbly butter fire, that stuff likes to bounce around and maim).  The best indicator is smell.  The butter will start to exude a luxuriously nutty/caramel aroma.  YUMMERS!
Leave that dark film behind!

Carefully pour the melted butter into a heat safe bowl, leaving behind the darkest film on the pan.  Don't scrape the butter out, simply pour.  If you find that a few dark particles go for the ride, don't despair.  

Allow the butter to cool and resolidify.  This takes a fair amount of time and I speed it along by refrigerating the butter.  Just keep an eye on the progress so that the butter doesn't get rock hard in the fridge.

Carefully spoon the resolidified butter from the dish into your stand mixer bowl.  Don't scrape the bottom of the bowl.  You'll find that there's a film of dark sediment on the bottom that you want to avoid transferring to the batter.
Butter successfully transferred to the mixer, sans buttery particulate

Follow the recipe as written by creaming the butter and sugar together, etc.

Browned butter creams just as beautifully as Regular Joe butter.