Memory is a funny thing. Some folks store memories in such a succinct manner, I wonder if they have access to some mental card catalog I’ve yet to discover. Others, such as myself, store memories in an order that more closely resembles the inside of my purse… random receipts, a kid’s sock, some old lip gloss (that I’ll never finish…has anyone ever finished an entire tube of lip gloss?), a few candy wrappers, a pen that is still open and drawing pictures on its own all over the interior of my bag, etc. You get the idea. So with me, memories are far and few between, unless they deal with food. It’s like a game of “what do you see in this ink blot?” Name someone and I will rattle off the food I immediately associate with them in some bizarre hyper-excited fashion. Weird, I know, but it is what it is.
These little cookies always remind me of my grandmother. It never failed that she had a round tin of danish butter cookies at her little red cape house and it was far from uncommon for my first mission to be prying open the metal lid on that hollow sounding round tin making sure I had first dibs on that little white crinkly accordion liner filled with pretzel shaped butter cookies that sparkled with large giant sugar crystals. Nothing else.. nope, the rest of the cookies were fair game for anyone (still patting myself on the back for being the sharing-kind). All in the world was perfect…just make sure I had the ones glittering like gold with sugar. Guess my butter& sugar obsession began early.
Love these little spiral cookies as the versatility is endless. Think broadly here. School colors, holiday colors, party theme colors, they go with everything. Fun colors and giant sparkling sugar crystals are the only excuse I ever need.
Rich Roll Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (or vanilla)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.
2. Add the egg, baking powder, salt and extract and beat until combined.
3. Stir in the flour until blended.
4. If you are leaving 1 spiral a natural cookie color: Remove half of the dough and set aside. Add color extract to remaining dough and mix until just incorporated. Take both separate doughs and move (or you can dance) on to “assembly” below.
If you are coloring both spirals: Remove half of the dough, add your color extract to the remaining half in the bowl and mix until just incorporated. Remove first colored dough, clean out bowl, place second half of dough in the bowl, add your color extract and mix until just incorporated. You now have two colored halves of dough. Move onward to “assembly.”
Roll out each portion of dough between sheets of waxed paper. You want a rectangle about 11 × 8½ inches by ⅛ inch thick. Leave the dough between the sheets of waxed paper and slide onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
Remove dough pieces from refrigerator. Pour the sanding sugar into a shallow rectangular dish (such as a 9 × 13-inch pan).
Peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from both doughs. Brush one dough very lightly with water. Using the waxed paper, lift the other dough and flip it onto the first dough so they are stacked. Press with your fingertips to seal the two doughs together. Remove the top sheet of waxed paper and trim the edges even.
Here is a picture for your reference (although these are not from my trial run):
*photo by sprinklebakes.com
When the dough is just pliable (but still cold), roll up the dough (begin with the long side) like a jellyroll. As you begin to roll, gently curl the edge with your fingertips so you don’t get any air pockets as you roll dough into a log. As you roll, the bottom layer may want to tear, pinch tears together as they happen and keep rolling. (Who says you don’t learn life lessons while baking… tears happen… pinch together and you just keep moving along with your happy little self)
After forming the dough into a log, throw away the waxed paper. Gently lift the log on top of the sanding sugar in the dish and roll until the log is completely coated with sugar. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to slice (from 4 hours to a week, or freeze for up to 2 months; defrost in the refrigerator overnight before slicing).
Heat oven to 350°. To bake, slice the log into ⅛- to ¼-inch-thick cookies and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are no longer shiny on top and the bottoms are golden.
– I used sanding sugar because I didn’t find that the nonpareils (you can also use) stuck as well to the outside (and because I just need me some straight sugar mamma). Important: Sanding sugar is not your average granulated sugar. It is specially made not to melt in the oven while baking.
– Takes some fiddling with. If the dough is sticking to the wax paper, try chilling again for a few minutes. I found that the warmer the dough was, the more it stuck to the wax paper which didn’t make peeling it off to layer, or roll, fun times.
– I’ve made a few times and each time the spirals came out differently. Differing thicknesses, sizes of cookies, etc. The point here is not to create some Picasso work of art… it is to make little buttery and sugary treasures of goodness for you to sneak out of the cookie jar in the middle of the night without letting the top of the jar clink while you remove… takes practice…luckily, I’ve had MUCH practice and am now a black belt at late night desserts in the dark.
RECIPE CREDIT: Joys of Cooking (don’t have the formal citation with me, but it’s the “Rich Roll Cookies” recipe in any one of their giant books)
INSTRUCTIONS CREDIT: Mostly from http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2010/01/colorful-spiral-cookies.html
*a) visit her site because she’s amazing; b) visit her site to see the nonpareil version.