Butter Cookies

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All those who know me or read my blog will know how much I love to bake. There is no better mood-booster than beating up a dough and baking it till perfection. So when my husband got a $50 gift coupon from Sears beginning of this year, I knew instantly how to put it to good use. Thereby came home an electric mixer and a food processor. And thus my effortless entry into the world of baking.

More than savoring the home-baked goodies, I like the process of preparing it; taking out my measuring cups, scooping out the flour, kneading the dough with my hands, sprinkling flour, the wonderful aroma – everything is like a therapy for me.

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Last winter was terrible. With 3-4 inches of snow piled outside there was no way I wanted to go outside to buy those blue boxes of Danish butter cookies; so when the craving set in, out came my bakers hat and I inaugurated my hand mixer with this butter cookie recipe from here while BBC helped me in clicking some of the pics. Since that winter morning I never got around to upload this post and was looking for a special occasion to do so.

Now as I participate in the Bake Fest Event #21 hosted by AmritaVishal of Sweet ‘n’ Savory , I think it is a good timeBakeFest-200 to share this entry of Home Baked Butter Cookies with you all. And trust me, if you have a hand mixer you can do this in a jiffy!

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 Ingredients:

  • Butter, unsalted and softened – 1 cup or 8 oz
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Egg yolk – 1 large
  • All-purpose flour – 2 cups

Method:

  • In a big bowl add the softened butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and beat them together until smooth and creamy.

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  • Add the egg yolk and beat in till everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

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  • Add the flour and beat just until incorporated.

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  • Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and transfer the dough.
  • Knead it lightly just till the dough smooths out.
  • Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log (round or square) that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Using the flat surface of the knife smooth out the sides so that you have sharp edges.

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  • Wrap each log in a plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours or preferably overnight). Can also freeze the unbaked logs for up to two months.

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  • Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F. and line the baking sheets with a parchment paper.
  • Once the log is firm, with a sharp knife, slice the dough about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick or as you want.
  • Place the slices on the lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

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  • Sprinkle some finely chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds if you want to and press them onto the surface of the unbaked cookie.
  • Bake them for 12 – 15 mins or just until done.
  • Once done remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

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Note:

  • While shaping them into logs ensure that the dough is tightly packed or else you might get holes in the center. Some of my cookies got that, but not much so it was okay.
  • Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Remember that the cookies keep baking even after taking them out of the oven. So do not over bake and allow them to cool on a cooling rack completely; if they are still soft, you can put them back in the oven for a couple of  minutes again.
  • You can roll out the dough and cut them in various shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • You can decorate it using colored sugar or dip them half into chocolate.

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Roasted Veggies

After what seems like almost a year, I am trying to get back to my blog with some simple recipes that I have been thinking of putting down from very long. Starting with a simple and quick dish of oven-roasted vegetables which can be served as a side with simple bread and soup, or rice/chapati and dal or also used as starters. You can use any vegetable of your choice, but for this post am using cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, onions, capsicum and a handful of peas. Thankfully all these take up almost the same time to roast so I toss all of them together into the oven, however if you have a large number of veggies or of varying cooking times you can roast them in separate dishes for separate timings. Seasonings vary from using only salt and pepper to any spice of your choice.

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower cut into small florets – 1 cup
  • Broccoli cut into small florets – 1/2 head
  • Potatoes – 1 medium-sized, peeled and cubed
  • Carrots – 1, cut into thick circular pieces
  • Onions – 1 small, cut into long thin strips or into small cubes (whichever is preferred)
  • Capsicum – 1 small or less, cut into long thin strips or into small cubes (whichever is preferred)
  • Peas – handful
  • Salt – to taste
  • Black pepper – to taste
  • Red Chilli powder or slit green chillies –  to taste (optional)
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Garam Masala powder (optional)
  • Chaat Masala (optional)
  • Olive oil or cooking oil or cooking spray or molten butter
  • Lime juice – for garnishing

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line the baking tray with aluminium foil and grease it lightly with some oil/butter
  • Drizzle oil / butter on the vegetables and season them mainly with salt, pepper and any or all of the other spices. Mix well and keep aside for 5-10 minutes preferably. I usually do not roast the onions and capsicum with the vegetables, Instead I lightly toss them later with little oil / butter.
  • Spread the spiced vegetables evenly on the baking tray, try to use a big baking tray so as to avoid overlapping.
  • Roast for approx. 20 mins. (time may vary from oven to oven). Once done
  • Heat a pan and drizzle a few drops of oil/butter. Toss the onions and capsicum with little salt and pepper (if not roasting them).
  • Mix the roasted vegetables, toss well and sprinkle some chaat masala.
  • Garnish with freshly squeezed lime juice and serve hot.

It is best to serve this dish fresh so that you can enjoy the crunchiness of the roasted veggies.