From Big Fat Cookies by Eleanor Klivans. You should buy the book.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I accidentally put in 3 and they taste fine)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar for dusting (I left this off)
- Preheat the oven to 325*. Trace nine 3 1/2-inch circles on each of two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between the circles. Line the baking sheets with the paper, marked side down. (I didn’t do this, but eyed it instead. Unless you’re a perfectionist who actually has a protractor and/or compass left over from middle school math class, I’d skip it.)
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the flour and mix until the dough forms small crumbs, varying in size from fine crumbs to about 1/4 inch in size.
- Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to scoop up 1/4 cup crumbs, and spread them in one of the marked circles. Pat the crumbs gently to fill the circle, but do not pack them tightly. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of loose crumbs over the top, to produce the crumbly looking top. Repeat to make a total of 18 cookies. (OK, what I did towards the end was to lightly pack the crumbs in the measuring cup before tipping it over onto the baking sheet, because otherwise it was just a lot of mess. Then I patted them a little flatter into a circle-like shape with my fingers. I accidentally omitted the 1 tablespoon on top part, because I didn’t read it. So, my cookies kind of have fingerprints on top, but they taste fine and nobody said they were ugly.)
- Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the bottoms and edges are light brown, about 21 minutes. The centers of the cookies should still be a lighter pale golden color. Cool the cookies for 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely (some crumbs may fall off the edges). (If that happens, crumbs falling off that is, just set aside a little bowl and brush them in there, and eat it while the rest of the cookies are baking. Yum!) Do not try to transfer the cookies before 10 minutes – they must cool and firm slightly so they will not break (I could move mine after about 8 minutes, since I was pressed for time, but as long as you have the extra few minutes, I’d wait the full 10; also, mine only needed to bake for 19 minutes instead of 21, but just watch yours.)
- Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Makes: 18 cookies
Cookie making: 15 minutes
Cookie baking: 325*, two baking sheets for about 21 minutes each