Wow, it’s the first second day of the new year, so Happy New Year to everyone. And it’s also 2013, finally. Just kidding. Can’t really believe this past year just flew by, and it was fun, mostly.
I’m looking forward to all the wonders that will unfold with the new year, which includes my cooking, and all the adventures that come from that.
I wanted to share this recipe again, I’ve actually posted about it before, but it was on my other blog and I wanted to update a couple of things, so, since it’s the first second day of the New Year, I thought it would be a great idea to share this family recipe. This was the special occasion cookie in my family.
I love bringing French Waffles to any kind of gathering. It’s always fun to see people’s expressions when they bite into one of these wonderful, rich, light pieces of deliciousness. Too much hyperbole? Nah, not if you’ve ever had one of them.
I made some to bring to the Post Apocalyptic party and they were a hit. But then again, I expected nothing less.
To start with, they are one of the simplest cookies to put together.
Really, they are.
Well, maybe a little labor intensive until you get the hang of it, but oh, so worth it. And one of the things I like best about them, you can make the dough ahead of time, and then just bake them at your leisure. I’ve even been known to make the dough and freeze it, then just take out enough to bake for a quick tea and Voila! French Waffles.
1 lb. Butter
1 lb. Flour (about 4 cups less 2 tablespoons)
12 Soupspoons Half and Half ( 7 Tablespoons, I just measured it out)
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles peas,
then add the Half and Half or light cream, mix together. Press it lightly together on the counter. In many respects this resembles a good pie dough, but is a lot more tender. This will feel like a really soft sticky dough, but it should.
I divide the dough into thirds or quarters and flatten them out into a disc shape or a log, then wrap that in a piece of plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about 4 hours or longer. I take out just a little of the dough at a time, about 20 minutes before I’m ready to roll it out. I don’t want it really stiff, but do want it a little malleable.
While the dough is resting, prepare the sugar topping. I’ve done this so many ways in the past, but the easiest is this:
A cutting board with the sugar on top,
(gotta say I was so impressed with myself, I finally figured out an easy way to put the sugar in one spot where it was easy to clean up, just by using my cutting board) where I put the cut out cookies,
and flatten them with either a couple of fingers or the rolling-pin, which in turn presses the sugar into the top of the cookie.
Dust the counter top with some flour, and rub a little onto your rolling pin as well. Place the dough on the counter, sprinkle just a little flour on top, then roll out. You want this to be fairly thin, cause the cookies plump up in the oven when it bakes. And since the cookies don’t spread out, (they plump when you cook them, sorry couldn’t resist that one), you can actually crowd them in the pan.
Place the cookies on the pan after you’ve pressed some of the sugar into the tops onto a parchment sheet or silpat sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, check them after about 10 minutes, sometimes they brown faster. I know mine did yesterday when I made a batch. When they are a lovely light golden color pull them out.
I make the filling for the cookies while the dough is resting in the fridge. It does take a little time, so rather than doing a load of laundry or the dishes, I make the filling and set that aside. I used to use a buttercream filling, but it is so rich and sugary, and when I learned how to make this frosting, I decided it was perfect to fill with and it is.
Best Ever Frosting.
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons flour
Whisk the flour and milk together (I use my gravy shaker for this step) until smooth. Then cook over a medium heat whisking constantly until comes to a boil, and cook for just a minute or so. Pour through a strainer, just in case there were any pesky little lumps that found their way in, then cover and set aside to cool.
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I use my own homemade)
In the bowl of stand mixer or with your hand mixer, mix together the butter and sugar. I let my trusty Kitchenaid to all the work, and let it whip until the sugar has dissolved into the butter. Then add the cooked and cooled flour/milk mixture, a third at a time, and whip it. Continue whipping for a few minutes. This will become light, fluffy and delicious. Taste to make sure it’s whipped enough. Set aside.
Put the frosting into a piping bag, I’ve found this is the easy way to do the cookies. Pipe a little onto the back side of a cookie, then put the top on, sugared side out. Be prepared to mash a couple of cookies while you get the hang of it, but you can eat them later, and no one will know. These cookies are very delicate. After you fill the cookies place them back in the fridge for an hour or so, and let them firm up again. Then serve to your guests and stand back. Be prepared, they won’t stop at one, well, some of them might, but most won’t.
**A couple of notes here, use Half and Half, if you use a mixture of whipping cream and milk it will make the cookies so tender, you will have a hard time filling them without crushing them. Trust me on this, I found out the crumbly way. But if you can’t find half and half, then by all means make your own, just use one third cream to two thirds milk, not half cream and half milk. They will still taste wonderful however, but…
If you try these, let me know how they turned out. And most important, have fun with it.