All four of these recipes (all but the Shortbread Cookies with Dragees, which is from Parties!, come from the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) have the same basic dough recipe. Butter, flour, sugar, vanilla extract. No leavening, no eggs. The recipe must work for someone, somewhere, for it to have been repeated in so many different variations, but I do not have the magic touch. At least this recipe turned out better than the last time I attempted it. The tricky part is that even though the dough recipe is the same, the instructions for rolling it out differ, but the oven temperature and baking time are the same. I didn’t major in physics, but it seems to me that a thinner cookie will cook more quickly, and so the cooking temperature and/or time should be adjusted accordingly.
You can see from the photos that some are thin and some are thick, and clearly the thinner ones had too much time in the oven by the time the thicker ones were done cooking. It wasn’t a total loss, though, because the kids loved these. I was hoping to use the same type of dough to make hamantaschen for Purim, which fell this past weekend.
Hamantaschen are little triangular cookies served at Purim, which are meant to symbolize tiny pockets, or possibly the tri-cornered hat (?) of Haman, the villain of the Purim story. I’m not well-versed on my Purim food traditions, but who wouldn’t love a holiday cookie tradition? I also read somewhere that tiny cookies like these are easy to bundle up and share, which makes them well suited for a festive holiday like Purim, where nobody is meant to be alone, and the celebration can be brought to anyone. I really love that. I think I’ll end up trying the Smitten Kitchen version instead – she has several on her website, and they look simply delightful.
If the hamantaschen ever get made here, I’ll be sure to report back. Until then, I’m sorry to say that shortbread and I just don’t get along that well.