After posting my previous cutout cookies recipe, a reader asked me why I didn’t make my cookies with the traditional creaming method and if it was okay to use cake flour instead of all purpose flour. Well, it’s all about personal preferences. As previously explained in my blog post, Piped Vanilla Bean Shortbread Cookies, your choice of ingredients and mixing method plays a crucial part in determining the final texture of your cookies (I strongly encourage you to read that post if you haven’t done so). Understanding the ingredients allows you to customize your own cookie recipe that you like the most.
Making cookies is really easy and you don’t need fancy gadgets like a stand mixer or food processor. To demonstrate this, I’m making my cookie dough with only a mixing bowl, a whisk and a spatula this time. This process is similar to making spritz cookies such as Viennese Sablés and Espresso Chocolate Spritz Cookies. Instead of being piped directly onto a baking sheet, the dough is rolled and then cut out with a cookie cutter. If you don’t have any cookie cutter you may simply roll the dough into a log, chill it until it’s firm and then slice it into pieces. Unlike my other cutout cookies which are made with granulated sugar and all purpose flour, icing sugar and cake flour are used here. The cookie texture this time is more like a crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth one. Cake flour which is weaker in gluten would cause the cookies to spread a teeny-weeny bit in the oven. I’ve attached pictures for comparison at the end of this post. Cookies made with cake flour have more rounded edges. When stacked up you could see the unevenness that they are thicker in the middle. Cookies made with all purpose flour, on the other hand, have sharp edges and are very even in thickness. Like I said before, cookies made with a combination of cake flour and confectioners’ sugar produce light and crumbly cookies whereas those made with all purpose flour and granulated sugar yield crispy cookies. One could choose ingredients according to the preferred texture. Anyways, I think this will be my last blog post of this year and I wish everyone a warm and wonderful holiday.
Earl Grey Cookies
Makes about 2 dozens cookies (4.5cm x 5.5cm x 0.6cm thick)
約做24塊4.5cm x 5.5cm x 0.6cm厚曲奇
115 g unsalted butter, softened
2 – 3 bags Earl Grey tea leaves
70 g icing/confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp salt
17 g beaten egg
160 g cake and pastry flour
無鹽牛油 (室溫回軟) 115克
伯爵茶茶包 2 – 3個
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and earl grey tea leaves until smooth. Add icing sugar and salt and whisk until smooth and creamy (there is no need to beat air into the butter mixture as too much air will cause the cookie to spread in the oven).
Beat in egg until fully Incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Fold in the flour in three batches with a spatula. Stop mixing once a soft dough is formed. Do not over-mix. Flatten dough slightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until the dough is firm enough for rolling.
Roll dough in between two pieces of parchment paper or silicon mats for even better results to 1/4 inch thick (I use chopsticks as my guide for thickness). Cut out as many shapes as possible. Collect dough scraps, reroll and cut out the shapes one more time. Place the shapes on parchment paper and freeze for at least 10 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 325ºF/160ºC. Arrange shapes on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the cookies start to get golden around the edges (adjust baking time according to your own oven). Let cookies sit a few minutes on the sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Left top and bottom: cookies made with cake flour and icing sugar
Right top and bottom: cookies made with all-purpose flour and granulated sugar
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